NC fishermen battle potential trawling ban
Posted July 30, 2013
New Bern, N.C. — Dozens of fishing trawlers anchored along the riverfront in New Bern on Tuesday in opposition to a petition before the state Marine Fisheries Commission that could end shrimping in coastal waters.
The commission is being asked to declare the waters of North Carolina sounds as secondary nursery areas for fish, which would make them off-limits for commercial trawling.
More than 800 people packed the New Bern convention center for a public hearing on the proposal, and the crowd was overwhelmingly commercial fishermen. Petition backers say the move is necessary for the survival of many coastal fish species, but many fishermen say it would put them out of business.
Petitioner Tim Hergenrader said about 4.5 pounds of fish are killed for every pound of shrimp harvested.
"The effect would be to reduce the amount of by-catch taken by the trawlers. By-catch is the collateral damage of the shrimping industry," Hergenrader said.
"Every penny of every dollar I’ve ever made in my life has come from the water," commercial fisherman Kenny Lewis said. "I’ve never made nothing on the land, never got a decent job on the land. It’s always the water fed me, and if you take that from me, somebody is going to have to feed me."
The commission could vote on the proposal next month at a meeting in Raleigh.