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Spotted Seatrout harvest closure impacts local fishermen

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For some fishing is a hobby but for others it's their way of life...

"I fish as often as the weather and the government will let me,"said Keith Bruno, Owner of Endurance Seafood in Oriental and commercial fisherman.

That's why Bruno was so disappointed to hear about the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries decision to close the spotted seatrout harvest.

"Trout is insanely popular it's popular with the recreational fishermen and it's incredibly popular food fish," said Bruno.

So you may ask why the state decided to close the harvest. Officials say it's because of the increase of cold stun reports seen in several bodies of water from Surf City to Manteo...

"When water temperatures in an area get so cold that the fish become stunned they go belly up and become very lethargic," said Steve Poland, DMF Spotted Seatrout Biologist.

After an extended period of time most of the fish die, sparking a question among fishermen, why can't those fish be captured and sold?

"They can close the net fishing and let us go out there with the dip net and dip up these fish and carry them to market and sell them these are fish that were in great condition when they first started dying", said Bruno.

Instead Bruno must now turn people down who are looking to purchase trout.

Officials say they don't want anyone to disturb or catch the fish and believe it's right to let nature take it's course.

"The biological reasoning is to allow any of these surviving fish a chance to spawn without any fishing pressure and the hope is to hopefully jump start the rebuilding of the stock," said Poland.

As for the fishermen they have to watch what they believe to be perfect product float away and eventually rot.

Marine fishery officials say the spotted seatrout season will remain closed in all waters until June 15th. Officials say if you see any cold stun events in coastal waters to please report it to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.
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