A state House bill first introduced 16 years ago has been resurrected that would ban the use of large trawling nets in state waters, a move that the commercial fishing industry says could destroy the livelihood for most North Carolina fishermen.
New Bern native Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland, filed a bill that would let voters decide whether to outlaw gill and certain other nets in all state coastal waters. If the N.C. General Assembly supports House Bill 1122, the binding referendum would be on the November election ballot.
“It would be the end of North Carolina’s (commercial) fishery,” said Wayne Dunbar, a waterman for nearly 40 years, located in Pamlico County’s Paradise Shores on Lower Broad Creek, leading into the Pamlico Sound. “People that don’t fish wouldn’t get North Carolina seafood.”