Arkansas blackbirds falling from the sky; limp turtle doves raining down in Italy; scores of dead spots on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay: Mass animal deaths seem to be the signature events of January, 2011. You didn't think North Carolina would make it out of the month unscathed did you?
Two weekends ago near Oregon Inlet, recreational boaters found themselves floating amid a mass of perished striped bass. The cause of these thousands of striper deaths was not cold water temperatures, an unusual disease or a looming Armageddon. The fish were regulatory discharge from the overloaded nets of a trawler. And on the dozens of recreational boats nearby, digital-age anglers pulled out their cell phones and captured the moment for all to see.
It's easy to pile on the commercial trawler. You see the dead fish. You know they are there because he netted them by the thousand when his trip limit is 50 fish. But here's the thing: His actions were legal. Ethical? Absolutely not, but you don't get fined for ethics.
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