Commercial fishing groups suing over sea turtles

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit this week because they want regulations for sea turtle protection applied to all fishermen, even folks just out for some fun for the day.

We spoke with a local commercial fisherman who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from the recreational fishing community and turtle activists.

“Why don’t everybody have to abide by the same laws?” the fisherman said. “From commercial fishermen, to biologists, to Marine Fisheries to the whole nine yards.”

He says commercial boats get a bad rap.

“most of us were born bred and fed on that water. Why would we go out and try to destroy it? We try to protect and serve that water,” he said.

Now he says it’s time others step up to protect it as well following those same rules and regulations. Charter boat captain Trevor Smith says he’s just fine with that.

“It won’t affect my charter business,” Smith said. “We don’t have many encounters with sea turtles and if we do, it’s just in passing. I don’t see a problem with, you know, having to report seeing a sea turtle or injuring one.”

The lawsuit is against federal and state regulators for not enforcing the endangered species act across the board. But the local commercial fisherman we spoke with says there’s a lack of extensive research and he’s not even sure they should be on the endagered species list anymore at all.

“There’s nothing wrong with turtles,” he said. “There’s plenty of them out there.”

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