Written by Linc Bedrosian
North Carolina fishermen — commercial and recreational — will square off at 1:30 p.m. Monday in public forum in the Legislative Office Building, 300 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh, as legislators consider HB-983. If passed, it would designate red drum, speckled trout and striped bass as game fish, taking them off the market and the menu of everyone except recreational fishermen — who fish for fun with hook and line.
By giving them the designation of game fish — these three species are not endangered — they could not be sold, which would make them off limits to commercial fishermen.
Bill sponsors pushed by the Coastal Conservation Association, a sports fishing group, are trying to say these three fish are more valuable to recreational fishermen and making them game fish would boost tourism, create jobs and money for the state.
Commercial fishermen, many of them small family commercial fishermen and women, disagree saying not allowing them to catch these fish would cost them and their families money, in some cases their livelihoods, destroy jobs and take the fish away from consumers who buy them in fish houses or eat them in restaurants.
Although these fish are a public resource and should be available to everyone whether they catch it themselves or buy it in a seafood market or eat it in a restaurant, to the CCA these fish belong to recreational fishermen, and only to recreational fishermen.
If consumers say they can't eat fresh, wild caught fish, the CCA's reply is they can eat farm-raised fish.
Read the full story at the Carteret County News-Times>>
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