N.C. finfish, shellfish harvests continue decline

Commercial fishermen harvested 56.7 million pounds of seafood with an estimated dockside value of $73 million. That is down 16 percent from 67.5 million pounds the previous year.

A contributor to the decrease on the commercial side is the shoaling of Oregon Inlet, which has particularly impacted fisheries such as summer flounder.

According to the 2012 commercial and recreational seafood harvests, there was a 90-percent drop in the number of fishing trips using flounder trawls and flynets, which are commonly used by boats that use Oregon Inlet. The gears account for the majority of the Atlantic menhaden, squid and summer flounder landings, all which decreased. Fewer flynet trips likely contributed to decrease in Atlantic croaker landings.

High fuel prices and stricter federal regulations were also an impact.

The landings report was presented to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, which met Wednesday through Friday in Morehead City.

“We’ve lost those harvests. It’s definitely a big impact on our finfish,” said Alan Bianchi, the division’s commercial statistics program manager, in an interview Thursday following his presentation.

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