Trawlers, well-organized opposition make convincing case not to monkey with state’s shrimping industry

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Fishing vessels made for a spectacular sight Tuesday morning, as seen from the Neuse River Bridge.

NEW BERN – Three dozen fishing vessels – most massive, some tiny – dropped anchor Tuesday within a stone’s throw of Riverfront Convention Center, sending an unmistakable message to North Carolina fishing regulators that shrimp trawls must remain a viable component of the state’s seafood industry.

A grueling seven-plus hour public hearing pulled a large crowd. Officials estimated peak attendance in the vicinity of 800 – not including a large dais of approximately 40 people charged with advising the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission.

THE ONLY AGENDA ITEM: Consider a proposed rule change, championed by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and the Coastal Conservation Association, that would severely limit shrimp trawls in a vast expanse of the state’s ‘inshore and near-shore’ coastal waters.


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Most, but not all, of attendees who addressed the Commission were adamantly opposed to the proposed change. And, well after dark, five separate Advisory Committees took votes, with a majority on each panel recommending that the Commission reject the measure. However, the only vote that really matters comes when the Commission – which has several members known to favor recreational fishing over commercial fishing – takes its formal tally on the issue next month.

For a synopsis of the argument against changes to shrimp trawl policy, see Page B-12 of this newspaper to read a Resolution adopted Tuesday night by the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners.


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