April 22, 2019

North Carolina: Marine Fisheries Legislation Advances

Contact: John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager

On April 16, two marine fisheries management reform bills reported favorably out of the North Carolina House Committee on Wildlife Resources.

HB 483, Let Them Spawn, would require a minimum size limit on marine fish species to ensure seventy-five percent of the juvenile fish at the minimum size limit established for the species have reached maturity and had an opportunity to spawn at least once. North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Larry Yarborough and Michael Wray, as well as Caucus members Representative Jason Saine and Brian Turner sponsored the legislation. Fish species covered by the legislation would include spot, Atlantic croaker, striped mullet, Southern flounder, bluefish, and kingfishes. The bill reported favorably out of committee with a substitute and was referred to the House Committee on Environment.

HB 486, “Commercial Fishing License Reforms,” would strengthen the requirements for obtaining and holding a commercial fishing license. Sponsored by Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Yarborough and Wray, and Caucus Members Reps. Jimmy Dixon and Carla Cunningham, the intent of the legislation is to curtail the use of commercial fishing licenses by recreational anglers that are not bona fide commercial fishermen. The legislation passed out of Committee and was referred to the House Committee on Finance.

“North Carolina finfish stocks have been declining for years, and as Co-Chair of the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus I’m committed to improving fisheries management for the benefit of coastal communities and all anglers,” said Rep. Yarborough.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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