January 8, 2014
Beaufort County seafood dealers may have to do more paperwork in 2014 due to proposed changes in federal reporting requirements.
The biggest change would require dealers to report their purchases from fishermen every week instead of every two weeks.
While not excited by more red tape, Beaufort County dealers have been largely receptive to the proposed changes, which could help the fish that provide their livelihood.
Such a change would provide more complete and timely purchase information, which in turn would give dealers more accurate assessments of the size and health of certain fisheries. It also helps ensure that species are not being overfished, said Tonya Hudson-Desalve, owner of Benny Hudson Seafood on Hilton Head Island.
"They're not trying to give us more paperwork, but keep better track of numbers," Hudson-Desalve said. "They're trying to help us by better documenting what's going on in the industry. ... It's more paperwork and time on the dock, but it's not a problem."
Craig Reaves, owner of Sea Eagle Market in Beaufort, agreed. He said the change would have little effect on most area seafood dealers, including him, because they primarily buy and sell shrimp, crab and oysters harvested in local, not federal, waters.