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NC Sportsmen Fishing for Better Solution to Marine Conservation

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation wants regulations to be based on science when it comes to managing state fisheries. (M Fletcher/flickr)
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation wants regulations to be based on science when it comes to managing state fisheries. (M Fletcher/flickr)
July 31, 2017

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- For two decades, North Carolina has been counting on a fishery management system that sportsmen and conservationists say is failing to do its job.

According to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, the state has four depleted fisheries and 13 that present cause for concern. David Knight, policy adviser with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, said that's why his group has joined a larger coalition of organizations and businesses to reform the system.

"The act has failed, and we are trying to fix that,” Knight said. "It is past time, given the data and the science out there. Most of our fisheries are depleted and are continuing to decline, which is bad for the state economically."

He said revamping the existing system would be done by House Bill 867, which was introduced last session but lawmakers failed to bring to a vote. He said the bill would ensure fisheries are managed with conservation and science in mind, but inaction leaves an ineffective program.

Knight said that replenishing the state's fish population will only help the larger economy in the long run.

"Just like in other industries, we're competing with other states, and right now people are going to other places to spend their money on the coast because the fishing is much better,” he said.

Some commercial fishermen are against the proposed changes, saying it places too high a priority on recreational fishing. But Knight argues that managing fish for abundance means more fish for everyone.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC