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Commercial fishermen gather in Burgaw to protest game-fish bill

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BURGAW, NC (WWAY) -- Commercial fishermen gathered in Burgaw today to protest a bill that would keep them from catching certain types of fish.

The state proposed a bill that would outlaw the catching and selling of red drum, striped bass and spotted sea trout by commercial fishermen. The fish would then be known as "coastal game fish.”

Pender County Commissioners originally voted to oppose the bill, but were reconsidering it at Monday’s meeting. Commercial and recreational fishermen came out to voice their opinions.

About 35 employees of Atlantic Seafood lined their trucks up to show how upset they were about the bill.

"On one hand, you're going to be taking away from someone who is trying to provide for their family," said Joseph Smith, an employee at Atlantic Seafood. "It just doesn’t make sense for somebody to go out there and have three species to their selves for a hobby."

Pender County Commissioners stood by their original decision to oppose the proposed state bill.

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Economic impact - It makes sense to me.

Recreational fishing for these species adds so many more jobs and dollars to the economy than the commercial fishing of the same fish.

Even when you take into account every person and job commercially (commercial fisherman, processors, transportation, retail market, and all the support services) the figures are not even close in comparison to what recreation fisherman bring to the economy for the same fish.

It makes sense to me.

commercial vs SPORT

I am against commercial[comm] fishermen netting,gigging and trawling within 2 miles of our NC shoreline. No other SE state allows their nurseries to be consistantly plundered to make a few dollars by a few people. Check the size and number limits and you will see the difference. We have just been punished in recreational[rec] flounder limits because of comm. incessant gigging and netting in the very place where they spawn and grow to keeper size. Other states stopped this years ago and their tourist numbers show it. Ask anyone who fishes Topsail Island and they will tell of the last few years of terrible success. Multiply the new ocean license numbers x$15,then add the price of rentals,gas,tackle and food for a start. Then compare the comm. economic effect and you will see a huge difference! This process lacks so much common sense that a real investigation needs to see why it still exists!