Inland lawmaker proposes strict limits on coastal net fishing

By on May 12, 2016

 The same day advocates for North Carolina seafood were serving their fare to state lawmakers in Raleigh, a member of the General Assembly from Fayetteville introduced a bill calling for a public referendum on essentially ending net fishing on the coast.

Rep. William Richardson (D-Cumberland) has introduced House Bill 1122 asking voters for an up-or-down vote this November on banning all gill and drift nets and limiting the size of any nets used in coastal waters to no more than 500 square feet.

The measure would also allow no more than two nets per vessel and just one per person not on a boat.

“(The ban would) protect saltwater finfish, shellfish, and other marine animals from unnecessary killing, overfishing, and waste,” according to the preamble of the legislation.

A similar constitutional amendment passed in Florida 22 years ago, and nearly all southern coastal states have gill net bans of some type in their coastal waters.

North Carolina regulators have instituted short-term bans on certain size gill nets and where they can be used, most recently stopping their use for targeting southern flounder in the sounds.

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