BOTTOM LINE: If this bill were to pass, it would be the first step in eradicating commercial fishing from our public trust waters…and unless you go to the coast yourself and catch it, you won’t be able to enjoy NC seafood any longer. We already have an effective management system that our tax dollars pay for, and if anything, we need to build on this system, not gut it altogether. We should be using good science from from our state biologists and the vast university system that we already have in place…not ignoring it because it doesn’t agree with one’s beliefs.
MORE INFO: NC’s Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 was and is the gold standard for fisheries management which other states have tried to emulate. According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, commercial fishing is the 7th most regulated industry in the US and state officials want regulations that make sense and achieve protection of fish stocks while allowing sustainable harvest.
House Bill 867 seeks to gut the act by changing many of the keystones of the legislation. It aims to change sustainable harvest to conservation but doesn’t say precisely how that would work or what it even means.
Three years of study, public meetings and development of the act was overseen by a panel made up of commercial and recreational fishermen, scientists and environmentalists. They crafted a comprehensive plan that includes peer-reviewed science as the basis for the creation of Fisheries Management Plans for individual species. To ensure decisions based on a broad array of knowledge and first hand experience, five advisory panels comprised of recreational and commercial fishermen and scientists review plans and give feed back to the Marine Fisheries Commission.
House Bill 867 would remove the advisory panels and replace with a council with no dedicated seats, thus allowing the exclusion of scientists, commercial fishermen or others with knowledge and experience.