NC Marine Fisheries Commission passes clean water restriction program, doesn’t pass gill net ban

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BAYBORO, N.C. (WNCT) — Commercial fishing is still a huge industry along our state’s coast. However, fishermen say they are still fighting against tighter regulations.

“When you go and put any kind of net ban in place you are depriving the consumer of the right to purchase that resource from a North Carolina fisherman,” said Doug Cross.

Cross calls this kind of regulation devasting. He owns Pamlico Packing Company and is on the Marine Fisheries Commission. He said conservationists recently tried to put rules in place to ban small mesh gill nets claiming there’s too much bycatch while fishing.

“To put a blanket restriction basically across every fishery pertaining to small and large mesh gill nets,” he said.

The Marine Fisheries Commission voted against it and decided to review each gill netting issue separately.

“We’ll look at each one of these net issues on a species by species basis rather than just a blanket across the entire industry. The gear type the gear length the amount of soak time. Everything is different for every species and there is no one way fits all type scenario,” said Cross.

The commission also unanimously voted in support of a coastal habitat protection program. The program implements cleaner water restrictions which Cross said are much needed.

“I think clean water will lead to an improvement on everything. It is the beginning of the correct direction to make everything a better process and just a better all-around experience in our coastal waters,” said Cross.

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