Net Effect

Posted September 27, 2015 12:04 p.m. EDT
Updated February 28, 2019 11:33 a.m. EST

Commercial fishing is not only part of our state’s economy, but also its heritage. So is recreational fishing, which has an economic impact on North Carolina that dwarfs that of commercial fishing. But many recreational fishermen complain that some of the tactics of commercial fishermen are catching too many fish and depleting what is a public trust resource that belongs to all North Carolinians. They say shrimp trawling and the use of anchored gill nets in our state’s inshore waters are killing too many fish.

The issue came to a head this past summer when the state Marine Fisheries Commission proposed restrictions on the harvest of Southern Flounder, one of our state’s most popular fish but one that’s been depleted by overfishing. When the MFC proposed banning or severely limiting the use of gill nets in inshore waters coastal legislators representing commercial fishermen threatened intervention and the vote on the restrictions was postponed. Recreational fishermen and conservation groups cried foul saying the legislature has no business intervening in the regulatory responsibilities of an executive branch agency. The battle reveals some of the problems with the management of our state’s saltwater fish.

“Net Effect” is a one-hour documentary that looks at some of the declining fish stocks in our state’s waters and some of the commercial fishing practices that recreational fishermen and conservation groups say is contributing to the problem. It also looks at the politics behind the Southern Flounder debate, the loopholes in how commercial fishing licenses are issued and the weaknesses in enforcement of existing fishing regulations.

“Net Effect," hosted by WRAL News anchor David Crabtree, will air Monday, Oct. 26.

Statewide TV schedule:

Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. – WRAL-TV and WILM-TV
Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. – FOX 50 (WRAZ-TV)

For more information: