A North Carolina bill would make red drum, spotted sea trout and striped bass off limits to commercial fishermen in order to preserve them for sport fishermen.
Bill sponsors say those fish are more valuable to recreational fishermen and that making them game fish would attract tourism, create jobs and generate revenue for the state. Commercial fishermen say taking the fish away from them would cost the state money, destroy jobs and limit choices for consumers, The Lincoln Tribune newspaper reported.
“The value of binoculars sold to fishermen each year is more than the aggregate value of all three of those fish to the commercial fisherman,” state Rep. Darrell McCormick, the bill’s sponsor, told the newspaper. “There’s absolutely no impact on them, but these are the three most popular recreational fish.
“The dock value of one red drum is about $1.50 per pound,” he added. “Its value to our state, as a recreational fish, is $300 per pound.”
Commercial fishermen, however, say the bill would eventually destroy North Carolina’s commercial fishing industry.