August 20, 2012 North Myrtle Beach, SC - Even before the North Myrtle Beach City Council Workshop meeting was called to order the conversation began between the mayor and the fishermen. Although lively, the discussion was respectful.
Creating the most debate were provisions in the proposed ordinance that would restrict the hours during the tourist season and set a 100 yard separation between a fisherman and other users of the beach.
Although some opposed any regulation at all, others felt they would support restricting surf fishing between 9 – 5, saying the beaches are too crowded and the temperature too hot during that time for them anyway.
The most opposition was to a 100 yard separation. Larkin Broughton explained that he has no interest in fishing in a crowd of people but they are always approaching him and he is constantly moving away from them. “It’s not me. I can’t get away from them.”
Wayne JordanOne fisherman challenged the authority of the city to pass the ordinance. “You [should] talk about the legal aspect of even being able to say that a person can’t fish when the state of SC has licensed me to do it. We have that right.” He suggested that the ordinance be tabled and worked on during the winter.
City Manager Mike Mahaney explained that the city was allowed to do things because of safety.
Wayne Jordan asked whether the complaints were real or frivolous. Based upon the answer he got from city officials, Jordan said, “I think most of them are frivolous. They are not real concerns. The people that make them have perceived concerns not based on facts. What they said in there [was] they did not have any cases where anyone was hurt. As they said in [the workshop] it is the tourists causing the problem. They are giving real fisherman a bad rap. I don’t have a problem with the ordinance.”
From the workshop the revised wording reads:
Sec. 5-10 Regulations on recreational fishing from pier to shore:
a) Any person who surf fishes must obtain a valid Surf Fishing License in accordance with South
Carolina State Law. City jurisdiction extends to one (1) mile in the Atlantic Ocean and includes
all beaches, swashes, and piers.
b) It shall be unlawful for any person to bait, fish for catch, or otherwise attract sharks in the area
within one mile of the public beach, nor shall any person in any manner chum for any marine
life. All fishermen shall release at time of recognition any and all fish or other similar type
animals that may pose any danger to any beach goers, sunbathers, swimmers or any other person
where the fish or animal is caught.
c) No person may surf fish, surf cast or practice surf fishing or surf casting on the city’s public
beaches between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from the Friday of Memorial Day
weekend to the Monday of Labor Day weekend, both days inclusive.
d) All debris, bait, fish line, hooks, and other fishing equipment or tackle must be removed from the
beach after fishing has been conducted.
Mayor Hatley said the council was in no hurry to pass an ordinance. It would be worked on during the winter and believed a compromise could be worked out.