Proposed bill could regulate fishermen more in North Carolina

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — More regulations could be coming for people who fish in North Carolina.

A proposed House Bill now aims to regulate certain species.

“I think overfishing is just more of overpopulation in general,” recreational fisherman Skyler Gable said.

“We’re like the scapegoats, and this is the scapegoat bill,” commercial fisherman Joe Romano said.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are not thrilled about more proposed fishing regulations in North Carolina.

“It will hurt recreational fishermen just as bad, if not worse,” Romano said. “In terms of commercial fishermen, you can’t, top-down, come up with this one-size-fits-all management structure.”

If it becomes law, a proposed bill would require a minimum size limit for certain species of fish caught.

Joe Romano owns Seaview Crab Company. He says the population of different species has nothing to do with fishermen.

“It has to do with the environmental conditions or the weather conditions that particular season or year,” Romano said. “Now, they’re trying to make it such that now we have to watch every one of these fish that are typically thousands and thousands schooled together.”

The bill aims to make sure 75% of young Spot, Atlantic Croaker, Kingfish, Striped Mullet, Southern Flounder and Bluefish reach maturity and reproduce at least once.

Romano thinks that other things like water quality and dredging are impacting fish populations more than overfishing.

Even recreational fishers like Gable think the rules are too much.

“Pretty frustrating,” Gable said. “I definitely would say that. there shouldn’t really be rules on fishing. The ocean is massive.”

The “Let Them Spawn” bill now heads to the State Senate for consideration.

Categories: Local, New Hanover