Lake Norman Striped Bass Management: A Conflict between Fishery Managers and Anglers

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) stocks striped bass (Morone saxatilis) fingerlings in Lake Norman to support a put-grow-and-take fishery. Members from 2 angling groups demanded the WRC raise striped bass stocking rates and increase available striped bass forage. The agency contended increasing stocking rates would exacerbate poor condition and slow growth among the lake's striped bass. Conflict between the WRC and anglers arose when the agency indicated it would not raise striped bass stocking rates, stock additional clupeids, or introduce alosids. An Advisory Committee was established consisting of non-WRC fisheries scientists, members of the 2 angling groups, several members of the fishing media, and local fishing guides. The dynamics of the Committee helped to mediate the conflict and permitted anglers and WRC managing biologists to develop more trusting and pragmatic relationships.

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