BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Local fishermen are concerned about yet another fishing ban putting pressure on an already stressed industry. The ban on red snapper has businesses wondering if they'll be able to stay afloat.
Not only was the ban on red snapper extended indefinitely, but a new area was shut down to all species of snapper and grouper. A 5,000 square mile zone off of Georgia and Florida will be shut down to the nearly 70 species of snapper and grouper most popular among fishermen. This means fishermen from Florida will send their boats north to our waters to stay in business, putting more pressure on our fish and giving our fishermen more competition as well.
"My concern is it will just send boats probably up here and just put more pressure on our resource, which we don't need at this time," said Jon Haag of Haag & Sons Seafood. "The outcome... I talk to people in the industry every day, and a lot of people feel like they may be looking for a new job."
Haag says he understands the management strategy, but the restrictions are too complicated and it's nearly impossible to keep fishermen afloat by closing down sections of the coast. He explained his problem as a seafood retailer with this analogy: If you're in the hammer business and you need more hammers, you call up the supplier and order 1,000 more. In seafood, it's nearly impossible to know what's going to be available when the species you're allowed to fish continue to change. For now, red snapper will remain on that list.