Local News

Recreational fishing license sales take dip

Posted June 4, 2008

— Recreational fishing license sales are sinking, down about 40 percent from 2007. The decline affects tackle shops, hotels, marinas and tourism along the North Carolina coast.

“The crowds this year have been pretty thin so far,” angler Richard Boyce said of fishing on the Outer Banks.

Brian Long, of the North Carolina Marine Patrol, says he hasn’t noticed a decrease in the number of serious anglers dipping a line in state coastal waters.

“I'm going to have to say it's gas and geography,” Long said of why vacationers may be staying away.

“It (gas) does put a hurt on it when you wanna come down. It's a couple more dollars each time,” Boyce said.

The loss of fishing license revenue is also hurting the environment. The fees support the state's Wildlife Resource Fund, which monitors and improves wildlife habitats.

Ironically though, wildlife habitats may also be affecting sales.

“They've closed down the south end of Oregon Inlet. That's prime fishing area. That's one of the reasons we come down here is to come fishing,” fisherman John Fenley said.

Abiding by a settlement of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups, the National Park Service has closed several miles of beach traditionally used by fishermen. The closures aim to protect nesting birds and turtles.

The state also blames last winter's poor striped bass fishing season for the decline in license sales. However, Long said fishing can be fickle despite outside factors.

“When the fish are biting, I think people are going to show up to go fishing,” he added.

The state doesn't yet know how the drop in fishing license sales will affect wildlife programs; however, no cuts are currently planned.


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  • beachboater Jun 5, 2008

    The driving ban is a joke. The ones wanting the ban have only to break it themselves to increase the protected area. Don't you people realize that the environmental groups and the courts are only trying to protect us from ourselves?

    My goodness, where would you be today without the Piping Plover?

  • topsynturvy Jun 5, 2008

    Closures aren't just for plover. Up until yesterday most full beach closures were for American Oyster Catches or Least Terns--neither of which a listed via the ESA.

    Go to www.islandfreepress.org or www.capehatterasanglersclub.org (news) to get the details.

  • oldschooltarheel Jun 5, 2008

    Yeppers, keep those taxes acomin' NC legislators. Soon you'll be seeing taxpayers & the few remaining businesses pulling up stakes & leaving the state altogether. Then it'll be only the pickpocketing legislating attorneys & their pitiful constituents who "need" but no taxpayers. Let the games begin.
    Think anyone will reduce guvmint spending & stop the cycle of over legislating & over taxation? No one from the aforementioned groups I dare say.

  • djofraleigh Jun 4, 2008

    The river banks are thinner too, since NC started saying a POOR man can't break a limb off, tie on some thread and a safety pin, dig up a worm, and drop it in the river to try his luck WITHOUT PAYING NC A TAX FOR A LICENSE.

  • Hip-Shot Jun 4, 2008

    If you take a trip to the Outer Banks you can see the reason: there just aren't the visitors normally there. The ban on beach driving in many places due to the "piping plover" had made many fishermen decide not to come, as well as fuel prices. I was down there last weekend trying to catch a fish or two, but couldn't get to the known spots that normally hold fish. Couple that with $4 a gallon gasoline and the industry that caters to tourists is struggling. The campground I normally stay at was empty, and the owners place blame mostly on the beach driving ban.

    The joke around Buxton is that piping plover tastes like chicken.