Fishing for fun and business is critical to North Carolina. Having more fish available benefits commercial and recreational fishing markets, as well as related tourism.
Unfortunately, populations of six commercially important species (croaker, spot, kingfish, flounder, striped mullet and bluefish) are in decline, especially from overfishing. N.C. House Bill 483, “Let Them Spawn Before They Are Gone,” has recently passed the House of Representatives.
It will be taken up by the Senate in the spring of 2020 and must pass if the plunge in marine fish is to be halted.
HB 483 addresses fish stocks that have “historically provided tremendous commercial and recreational opportunities that no longer exist due to overfishing.” It sets size limits prohibiting removal of juvenile fish before they are large enough to spawn. The way fish are caught by commercial and recreational fishing, along with shrimp trawling, is not just a coastal issue.
Regulating our fisheries will help grow North Carolina’s economy and ecology.
Jenny Sab and Hadi Soufi