Interviewee: Dick Brame

Role: NC Coastal Conservation Association executive director

Date of Interview: July 26, 2016

Collection: 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Dick Brame advocated for policy supported by the NC Coastal Conservation Association, a recreational fishing organization, during development of the Fisheries Reform Act. He was interviewed about the development and passage of the act, and about the successes and shortcomings of the act as a framework for managing coastal fisheries resources.

Transcript: The greatest success (of the Fisheries Reform Act) is managing by fisheries management plan and not just managing by guess and by gosh.

Climate change is one of the (emerging issues). Fishery populations are moving and we have to be able to adapt and be able to manage fisheries that we have never seen before, and we are going lose fisheries that we've had for a long time. So I guess, managing by fishery management plan would hopefully promulgate that. I don't know for sure, but you would hope that it would.

There have been big changes in the fishery since I was fishing on piers in the [19]60s, in terms of ethics and what you saw and what you caught. We used to catch several hundred king mackerel a year off the end of these piers at Topsail [Island, N.C.] and now they catch dozens. Fish are shifting. We certainly don't see the menhaden we saw back in the [19]60s and '70s.

I'm all for trying (eco-system based management). I'm a skeptic about it actually working, but I think we have to try, especially for stuff like forage species, where they have a role other than surplus production. We've gone further than I thought we would in my lifetime, so I think it's a good effort. We know each trophic level, we know a good bit about limnology, we know a good bit about zooplankton and phytoplankton and about the things that eat them and the things that eat the things that eat the zooplankton and phytoplankton, but we don't know anything about the interactions between those different trophic levels. I'm not sure we'll get there any time soon, but we need to try.