An 11th-generation Outer Banks fisherman, Jamie Wescott took a gamble recently in rough weather and worked until midnight netting 500 pounds of croaker. He hit the fish market the next morning, and workers sorted his paltry catch.
Even the pelicans under the fish conveyor belt were getting slim pickings.
On a better day, he would have caught closer to 3,000 pounds.
"It has not been really good," he said.
Tall, lean and weathered like many of his watermen ancestors, Wescott, 37, says he is up against more than bad weather these days when it comes to commercial fishing.
In 2011, North Carolina fishermen harvested 29.7 million pounds of finfish compared with 110.9 million pounds a decade earlier - down from the peak of 388.6 million pounds in 1981, according to state records.
The number of commercial fishing licenses issued remained steady at just over 9,000 in 2011, but the number of fishermen actually using them fell to 3,700 from 5,260 in 2002 and a peak of 7,198 in 1996.
Wescott says he doubts his 3-year-old son, who loves going on the boat and to the fish house, will be able to make a living on the water.
"I don't think the industry will be here," he said.
Read the full story at the Virginian-Pilot>>
National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14
In this episode:
NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first
NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.