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Protecting NC’s Declining Coastal Fisheries

North Carolina’s economic prosperity is directly affected by the health of the state’s coastal economy. Maximizing the growth opportunities for North Carolina’s non-urban coastal communities must remain a top priority. This is especially true as the state’s fishing economy continues to decline. Revenue from both commercial and recreational fishing is down due to depleted resources – a clear indication that action to grow this public resource is critical. Unfortunately, efforts to remedy this serious problem have often only amounted to re-allocating North Carolina’s fishing resource to different user groups. Instead, we should be focused on applying solutions to create jobs and grow the resource for current and future generations.

House Bill 867: Coastal Fisheries Conservation/Econ. Dev. is the law to do just that. By revising our fisheries management laws to prioritize resource growth and streamline regulatory decision making, House Bill 867 will completely transform North Carolina’s fishing economy. In a study commissioned by NC Sound Economy examining various fisheries management strategies in North Carolina, it was revealed that our state’s fishing economy has much to gain from the enactment of House Bill 867. This includes an additional $829.7 million dollars, $4.2 billion in total sales, 1,493 additional jobs and $1.6 billion in labor income. It’s clear this legislation will invigorate North Carolina’s waning fishing resources and benefit the struggling commercial and recreational fishing sectors.

Without action to grow North Carolina’s coastal fishing resources, there will be a continued decline in production that will ultimately cost our state jobs. From commercial fishing to tourism, it is imperative for our rural coastal communities and state that solutions to bolster resources are implemented. Just as managing our national forests in the West is of significant importance, so too is the management of our fisheries. With the NC Sound Economy Coalition, the NC Chamber supports House Bill 867 as we work to strengthen coastal livelihoods, raise incomes and make coastal communities more resilient.

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber