Proposed bill looks to further regulate NC fishermen

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There’s a debate going on in our state right now concerning fishing.

A new bill just passed the North Carolina House.

It’s focused on certain species and how to regulate them.

The bill looks at what you can keep and what you have to throw back.

There are several fish this bill targets: Southern flounder, Spot, Atlantic Croaker, Kingfish, Striped Mullet, and Bluefish all species lawmakers say have been declining for years.

Sue Poole fishes for fun on the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, she says this new bill worries her so, she wanted to learn more.

Poole said, “I don’t understand it.”

The bill, known as the Let Them Spawn bill would require state fishery managers to set a minimum size limit to try and let 75% of these 6 species reproduce at least one time.

State Representative Chris Humphrey represents Lenoir and Pitt counties, he says he’s heard from commercial and recreational fishermen about the bill.

Lawmakers say this bill would probably hurt commercial fishermen more than recreational because some lawmakers say it would lead to the end of gill nets.

Humphrey says they need to find something that works for everyone because something needs to be done about the fish populations that are going down.

Humphrey said, We have got to find some common area to make sure that NCs natural resources, fishing doesn’t go away.

Ried Clontz says he understands the bill and if done right, he says it could probably help the fish population.

He’s been fishing in North Carolina for years.

Clontz said, From 30, 40 years ago to now, the fish are just disappearing. If the bill really works then it will help the populations pick up and then fishing will get good again.

The bill passed the House with a bi-partisan vote, it now goes to the Senate where it’s unlikely to be debated this session.

To view the full bill, click here.

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