House bill would restrict species from commercial fishing, raise recreational license fees

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Submitted: Mon, 05/06/2013 - 9:20pm
Updated: Mon, 05/06/2013 - 10:22pm

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Commercial fishing is a $180 million industry in North Carolina. Now a bill in the state House could filet a chunk of commercial fishing and turn it over to recreational anglers.

Both recreational and commercial fishermen agree that North Carolina’s coastal fisheries are a precious natural resource that need to be protected, but House Bill 983 would seek to eliminate commercial fishermen from catching red drum, spotted trout and sea bass, and they say that would severely limit the way that they make a living.

“Commercial fishermen and recreational fishermen both want to protect the species. If we don’t have any fish to catch, there is no value in the fish,” commercial fisherman Joe Romano said. “If people go fishing and they can’t catch any fish, no one wants that. When you drive bills like this that literally divide people apart, you’re making the situation worse.”

Under HB 983, also known as the 2013 Fisheries Economic Development Act, commercial fishermen would be compensated for the financial loss they suffer from the new restrictions. Romano says this is a fishy situation.

“Right now there is a law on the books that says that we have to treat recreational and commercial fishermen the same way in the protection of the species. That’s why we have the Division of Marine Fisheries,” Romano said. “That’s why we’ve hired scientists to study the species, and so now by letting politicians determine how a fish will be used for the public good, that’s a dangerous precedent.”

The professionals don’t plan to go down without a fight. Some traveled to Raleigh Monday to spawn protest the bill.

If passed the bill would also increase the cost of coastal recreational fishing licenses to pay for inlet dredging.


  • Your Absolutely Right.

    Big Government is in.
    Republican Party Members in NC House, Senate, and now the NC Executive Mansion (Gov) pass laws in a manner which reflects the values of some hard core Democrats.

    North Carolina needs deregulation in order to repair itself from all the damage done by bureaucratic red tape.
    Especially in the Fishing Industry.

    The Larger the Regulatory Agencies get the more regulations will be passed. NC Fisherman are struggling as it is, recreational fisherman can’t hardly keep anything they catch to take home to cook.

    They Claim the Boat tax is to aid in paying for (Dredging the Channels) but the Dredging is for Large Vessel traffic, not Smaller vessels which are majority commercial and recreational fisherman. (The ones paying all the fee’s)

    We think this has more to do with Port development at Morehead City than anything. Planning for a new port terminal on Radio Island, etc.

    Basically.. Tax all the fisherman to finance the dredging for Huge Ships. We already fought PCS Phosphate from building a Sulfur processing plant in Morehead City. But we think this game isn’t over yet.

    That would inevitably destroy the entire fishing habitat within the Area due to Sulfur Dioxide emissions.

    It seems the Increase in Regulatory fee’s across the board for the entire fishing industry is aimed at financing something outside of fishing and tourism.

    Our Company is having a heck of a time fighting regulators, and finding out who is calling the shots.
    No one wants to talk, and everyone is hiding information.

    Here is our Recent Letter to Pat McCrory regarding some new Regulations which will effect Fisherman in our Area.

    We also sent this to Congressman Jones who has been a great help on a Federal level for NC fisherman both Commercial and Recreational.

    Thanks for Reading Bud,
    Mark A. Bartholomew, Managing Director
    Newport River Company

  • Guesty1234 says:

    Thanks for the BOAT TAX Republicrats! I thought the GOP were for lower taxes and smaller government. Seems awlfully unfair to TAX all boat owners for dredging given the fact that many will not or do not even exit an inlet??

    Why is this BOAT TAX being tied to a fishing Bill anyway?

  • NO LIBERAL says:

    Have you noticed any improvements to the boat landing? Boating fees and fishing license revenues.

  • Guesttseug says:

    My son asked me …now that I am a senior citizen why don’t I get a fishing license…..I told him why should I pay a fee to the state to be told I am not allowed to catch fish?

  • corona daze says:

    You should go out and see how these (pros) treat these fish.When the small ones are floating in the water from the nets.I would like to also see how they got the income numbers,not from the income they report to the IRS. If its not stopped there will be no more fish.Most but not all are the most selfish people on the planet and do not care about anything but money…

  • Guest Mechanic says:

    Compensating commercial fishermen for fish they don’t have to catch. Another welfare handout like farm subsities. Taxpayers’ dollars at work.

  • Guest123454 says:

    Flounder should have been included on that bill, flounder is the number 1 sought after fish by recreational anglers. Between gill nets, commercial gigging and trawling the nurseries and inland waters it’s time to recognize the recreational value of these fish, now for compensating the commercial guy for lost income, they deserve it, take their last 3 years income tax returns, average them, and pay them a weekly salary based on past earnings for 2 years, tied to the provision they will enroll and attend a community college and allowing them to switch to a trade that will provide a more steady income for them and their families and leave them more time to enjoy fishing for fun.

  • Capt charles osborne says:

    You should look into this with more detail. Contact brant or rube McMullan at the ocean isle beach fishing center you will be glad you did

  • Guest43 says:

    are they the know-it-all’s when it comes to fishing?

  • MY2cents says:

    Well they are going to raise your insurance 20% on your home if you live on the coast, they are going to increase you fees for boat registrations and now are going to raise the fee on your fishing license. Wow the working man/women don’t have a chance! Good for them keep raising taxes…See what it gets you. The poor working class stiff will always foot the bill so the other half can live grand!

  • NO LIBERAL says:

    Good.Good.Good. Inshore gill netting should have been ban years ago.

  • Vog46 says:

    I thought this was a GOP majority in our legislature?
    Raising fees?
    Paying fishing subsidies?
    Raising boat fees?

    I didn’t think revenues were the problem eh?
    Ah politicians – they never met a fee they didn’t like


  • NO LIBERAL says:

    Raising boating fee’s = Better public access and better boat landings,At least we are not being Raped by the liberal Democrats that have run Raleigh for decades.

  • Vog46 says:

    Your argument holds no water.
    Revenues are being raised and the budget spending is higher this year than last.
    And that doesn’t even include the tax code re-write.

    Sorry it matters not the (D) or the (R).
    You are confusing THAT with with being fiscally conservative or liberal.
    Or does starve the beast NOT apply to Republican administrations?
    (HINT – if you answered NO it doesn’t you would be brutally honest about the whole thing, and realize that POLITICIANS are the problem not which party they belong to)

  • Guest1022 says:

    No, now it is the Republicans turn.

  • No Liberal says:

    When was the last time you used a landing in NC ? operating budget in fiscal 2013, ending in September, was $1.16 billion, down from about $1.37 billion in 2010, the last year Democrats were in the majority.
    You sound like a disgruntle Democrat.

  • Vog46 says:

    I’m just a disgruntled voter.
    Registered as nonafilliated.
    Republicans are just as bad as Democrats.
    $400M more than Perdues last budget:


  • NO LIBERALS says:

    $400 million would go to the rainy-day reserve fund, considered key in preserving the state’s top fiscal rating from bond agencies.

  • Vog46 says:

    What its still an increase.


  • Charles Osborne says:

    this bill makes since,commercial fisherman are less than two % of fisherman yet they take 90% of the fish harvested each year. The fish stocks are down and there are season closures for many species of fish due to over harvest, and yes seabass are one of those species.Commercial guys are not suppose to target redfish but are allowed to harvest some each day as by catch, the rec fisherman can only keep 1 a day .Rec fisherman can keep 5 seabass at 13 inches ,commercial guys can keep a thousand pounds gutted weight each day , the seabass have seen season closures the last four years. The fishing gets better as you go south , and that’s because South Carolina has already taken some of these steps . Please support this bill

  • Charles Osborne says:

    Yes they run a top notch recreational fishing center and are very active in supporting the recreational fisherman

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