On May 23, NC Sound Economy hosted a legislative day at the North Carolina General Assembly to increase awareness of the importance of the state’s fishing economy and build support for House Bill 867, the Coastal Fisheries and Economic Development Act of 2017.
NC Sound Economy is a coalition of businesses, anglers and sportsmen’s organizations working collaboratively to improve North Carolina’s coastal fisheries.
Declining coastal fish populations are negatively impacting North Carolina’s fishing economy, and HB 867, sponsored by North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative John Bell and Caucus members Representative Larry Yarborough, Representative Jay Adams, and Representative Ted Davis, would enact policy changes to improve fish populations for the benefit of both commercial and recreational anglers.
Representatives from NC Sound Economy supporting organizations interacted with legislators, shared data about resource and economic impacts resulting from declining coastal fish populations, and provided information on the policy goals of the Coastal Fisheries and Economic Development Act of 2017.
HB 867 would reform the 1997 Fisheries Reform Act by affirming that fisheries are a public trust resource that must be managed for the benefit of all resource owners, requiring science-based decision-making, prioritizing resource growth to maximize long-term benefits through reducing bycatch, streamlining the regulatory process, and strengthening management plans to provide corrective actions for species when stocks are overfished.
Executive Director of Coastal Conservation Association North Carolina (CCA NC) David Sneed said, “House Bill 867 is a sincere effort to do what is right for our coastal fisheries in North Carolina, begin to improve our fish stocks, and provide an economic boost for our coastal communities. CCA NC is proud to be a part of the NC Sound Economy coalition and the effort to grow our marine resources and the fishing economy of North Carolina.”
Supporters of NC Sound Economy include, among others, the American Sportfishing Association, Big Rock Sports, the Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the North Carolina Chamber, the North Carolina Guides Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, and Yamaha.
There are more than 1.5 million anglers in North Carolina who fish over 23.5 million days annually.
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?