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15 Jul

North Carolina’s Fishing Decline……No Corrective Movement Seen By State Leaders Only More Concerns

As we move slowly into the colder days of winter we circle back around to the last days of summer and fall. During those days the hot topic was about the impact of the Flounder regulations that bans fishing for recreational anglers and most of commercial fisherman. Since those days there’s been considerable discussion about the regulation and more importantly the reason for this impactful event. The reason has proven to be a poorly applied bandage on a massive hemorrhage to the North Carolina fishing resource.

To bring you up to date, North Carolina has the worst managed fishery on the east coat of the United States and it declines more every day. The Flounder regulation was the state’s effort to appear proactive in the midst of a resource emergency that is unparalleled by the state. Well before the Flounder regulation debacle, the alarm bells had been sounded by multiple groups and organizations. These significant and positive efforts did little towards changing the state’s way of managing the fishing resource. Over the past few months efforts to communicate with Governor Roy Cooper’s office has resulted in no movement. The only response was that of Ford Porter of the governor’s office, being noncommittal on its prospects, according to a post on Raleigh’s WRAL website. A request by The North Carolina Coastal Fisheries Reform Group to officials of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality did agree to meet, limiting the meeting to just 60 minutes, which was declined. The North Carolina Coastal Fisheries Reform Group also published a website that details the many statistics, issues and potential solutions to the growing fishery problems. In mid-December a link to a website that details Governor Cooper’s promise to protect the North Carolina fishing resource has be replaced by a fund- raising page for Roy Cooper’s 2020 campaign. In a recent development, The North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries has come under scrutiny by WRAL TV for the potential mis-management of North Carolina fishing license fees. Raising greater concerns over the agency’s management.

Today, multiple groups and individuals work to gain the attention of those that are responsible for turning the tide of this problem. We see no interest from the North Carolina Marine Fisheries. They continue to conduct business in the same failing ways that got us to this point. The governor’s office continues to ignore the promises made prior to the last election and have even removed those promises from public view. May I remind you that the total control of this falls on the shoulders of Governor Roy Cooper with one acceptation which would be the voters of North Carolina. The ball will soon be in our court. It’s called election time.

If significant changes in fishery management are not quickly made our state will suffer substantial economic disaster. Today, North Carolina is one of the top 10 most visited states in the United States. That will change with the continued decline and possible demise of the fishing resource. This impact will be spread across many industries that support the North Carolina economy. Industries like hotels and motels, but also boat builders and dealers, tackle manufacturers and retailers, fishing charters and guides, restaurants, marinas and even real estate.

You have to ask yourself why this is happening. Why are the leaders of our state government just looking the other way while our fishing resource continues to slip away? What is driving their complacent and defiant attitude that is taking away a once healthy and productive state resource? Why is a problem of this magnitude not worth more than 60 minutes discussion? Why do they pretend that nothing is wrong and therefore refuse to listen to the over 1,000,000 North Carolina fishermen and women? This includes both the recreational and commercial anglers. Why are they not concerned that the state’s commercial fishermen are struggling to make a decent living as the fish stocks continue to decline? Is it ignorance or is it greed or just a lack of respect that has been the heart of North Carolina for over 300 years? It’s probably all the above. It’s about a personal agenda.

Today the state’s plan is to continue to manage the fishing resource into oblivion. Their current plan is more of the same as the plans that brought on this tragic time, the worst in North Carolina’s history. The state’s fishing resource is mine and yours and all those that respect it and come to enjoy it. It does not belong to the small group of politicians and bureaucrats that have hijacked it and now ignore us as if we don’t notice.

What needs to be done?

  • Reach out to your state representative and share your concerns.
  • Ask that representative what their position is on this important issue.
  • Ask more question if they don’t give the right answers.
  • Share your concerns with your local newspaper and ask them to cover this ongoing story.
  • Educate your fishing community like fishing clubs and groups and ask them to reach out to government representatives.
  • And remember, this should be a key voting factor in this year’s election.

Please feel free to email us at Coastal Carolina Fisherman if we can help you take part in changing the direction of North Carolina’s fishing decline.

Below is a re-print of a poll that was recently taken that shows that over 90% of coastal North Carolina anglers have significant concerns on how the state’s fishing resource is being managed.

Below are again the results in a recent poll that was taken on November 24, 2019 of Coastal Carolina Fisherman website viewers.  These results are based on 230 responses.

Do you feel that North Carolina’s fishing resource has been mis-managed?                                                                   Yes: 97.8%           No: 2.2%

Do you feel the NC government has been responsive to the current fishery problem?                                                                    Yes: 9.5%             No: 90.5%

Do you believe that trawling should be banned from North Carolina’s sounds and rivers?                                                                         Yes: 94%              No: 6%

Would you like to see the NC State Legislature re-organize the fishery resource management?                                                          Yes: 98.4%           No: 1.6%

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