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The boat was disqualified from the 2010 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament because its Virginia-based first mate did not have a North Carolina fishing license when the fish was hooked.

North Carolina’s Supreme Court heard an attorney for the boat’s owners argue Tuesday that the tournament unfairly picked one unclear rule that didn’t affect competition.

The tournament’s attorney said that unless contest rules are enforced, nothing could prevent a crew from shooting fish with a rifle.

The high court also is to determine whether a local judge should have decided the case because his former law partner and vacation buddy represented the second-place boat.

From wire dispatches and staff reports