Online Originals: ENC fisheries down in commercial sales

Crystal Coast

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — The state’s recent report on commercial and recreational fishing shows a drop in numbers for commercial fishing landings. That means any seafood sold by North Carolina fishermen.

There’s a 20% drop in 2020 compared to the previous year. Officials from the Division of Marine Fisheries said there’s a number of reasons for a drop in numbers — market circumstances, regulations and environmental conditions. But, they do know COVID-19 played a role in the significant drop.

“We did hear from a good number of fishermen that the blue crab, that they were having trouble moving product due to stay-at-home order due to COVID-19,” said Tricia Smith with the Division of Marine Fisheries.

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Officials said there was an increase in recreational fishing licenses sold, but still fewer catches. The report shows an increase in the weight of fish caught.

Officials also note they’re in the process of getting more federal funds to help people in the fishing industry who sustained income losses due to COVID-19. It’s not quite clear on the timeline for when those funds could be approved, but they expect to see $4.2 million for the relief program.

Click here for the report

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