Officials with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF) and commercial fishermen met at the Crystal Coast Convention Center, all in an effort to raise awareness about some of the issues plaguing our coastal waterways.
Together, the group publicly presented what they’re calling “Sound Solutions”, a campaign to sustain our marine resources. With roughly two and a half million acres of sounds, wetlands, and waterways across the East, making sure all of this real estate is protected may seem like a daunting task. The long term sustainability of many of the state’s fisheries is in question. Popular fish like southern flounder and speckled trout are considered depleted and many more are headed in the same direction. But the group is offering up some solutions to the problem.
David Knight, marine resources policy advisor with the NCWF said this:
“We need to take a comprehensive approach to this challenge of protecting our sounds and estuaries now and sustaining them into the future.”
They propose reforms that will aim to protect natural habitats, change the way these habitats are managed, and reduce the use of destructive fishing gear and other unsustainable methods.
One of the biggest groups that’s taking a hit is commercial fishermen.
“It affects my livelihood as a commercial fisherman and a recreational guide” said Allen Jernigan, who has been a commercial fisherman for over 30 years and is a third generation fisherman. Some of the things he sees going on along our coast worry him.
“It can’t go on. Too many stocks are depleted/over-fished, too many reductions have to be made because of this depleted status” said Jernigan.
The group hopes to push lawmakers to make some reforms. These would aim to protect natural habitats, change the way these habitats are managed, and reduce the use of destructive fishing gear and other unsustainable methods.
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation and commercial fishermen hope these changes come soon, before more damage is done.