This bill, introduced at the state level, would prohibit commercial fishermen from catching Red Drum, Speckled Trout, and Striped Bass.
OUR NINE REASONS TO DEFEAT HB 983
1. Giving a fish “game fish status” is not about protecting the population of that fish. This status is all about allocation to one party – recreational fishermen. This group currently catch the great majority of Red Drum & Speckled Trout in NC, but they are vying to catch 100% of those species.
2. As stated by the Department of Marine Fisheries, the Fisheries Reform Act mandates fair and equitable management of NC public trust resources to the benefit of all parties.
3. As stated by DMF, there is no biological evidence that designating Red Drum, Speckled Trout, and estuarine Striped Bass gamefish will improve stocks or guarantee sustainable harvest in the future.
4. As stated by DMF, the growth in recreational fishing activity in NC is consistent with or greater than other South Atlantic states, disputing CCA claims that anglers avoid NC due to no “gamefish” status.
5. Game fish status will turn the commercial fishing industry’s limited allowance of 3 carefully-managed species of food fish into wasted “regulatory discards”, dead or dying fish.
6. Economic impacts of taking 3 premium seafood commodities off the market, plates of consumers, and menus of restaurants will be negative if not devastating to the NC seafood industry, tourism, and fishing families who provide a top quality product to consumers.
7. Economic “benefit” of game fish status claimed by CCA-NC is unproven and highly speculative.
8. CCA calculations for commercial value of Red Drum, Speckled Trout and Striped Bass only reflect dock (ex-vessel) value. CCA calculations for recreational value include every economic multiplier associated with tourism (of which local seafood is a part). To deny the commercial sector any economic multipliers is misleading and unconscionable.
9. Seafood industry jobs are an important component of our coastal community’s economic engine, including tourism and local foods/seafood branding efforts growing in popularity and importance.