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    Posted: 14 July 2017 at 9:55am
SOUND SOLUTIONS
A conservation priority of the  North Carolina Wildlife Federation for sustainable marine resource conservation. 




Status Quo for Marine Resource Conservation in NC Legislature
 
As mentioned in the last newsletter, the Wildlife Federation's Sound Solutions campaign joined a coalition of organizations and associations focused on comprehensively reforming North Carolina's marine fisheries management system. The coalition is named NC Sound Economy ("NCSE"), and it includes organizations like the NC Chamber of Commerce, the boat manufacturers association, Neuse River Sports Shop, and a hospitality group. The reason for the diverse makeup of the coalition is the fact that these groups see the connection between the conservation and sustainability of these natural resources and the boosting of the state's economy.
 
Over the course of months and with much feedback from many opinions and perspectives, the coalition created language for legislation that would comprehensively and fairly reform the current marine fisheries management system. A number of legislators from both parties agreed to introduce a bill named HB 867- "An Act to Ensure the Economic Development of Coastal North Carolina through the Restoration and Long-Term Conservation of North Carolina's Public, Coastal Fisheries Resources". The bill title encompasses what the coalition is trying to do, and NCSE's focus this spring and summer has been the passage of this bill through the General Assembly.
 
The way NCSE went about attempting to pass this bill into law was to further educate the legislative members of how growing our marine fisheries resources would bolster the total economy, from the commercial industry to the recreational industry to tourism. The results from other states' management decisions, and from an economic study http://www.ncsoundeconomy.com/the_study showed overwhelmingly that a science-driven, conservation approach to fisheries management would be good for the whole economy of not only the coast, but all of North Carolina.
 
When the bill was introduced, House leadership was supportive of the bill, with the second in command of the Republic Caucus as the lead sponsor of the bill. NCSE realized the idea behind the bill was controversial, because the NC commercial industry had long enjoyed the least restrictive regulatory oversight of all the states on the east and gulf coasts. The coalition had lined up backing from many legislators, as well as grass-roots support. Thanks to all of you who came out for the NCSE Lobby Day, and for the Boat Rally Day. Further, so many of you contacted and visited your legislators, and your hard work is much appreciated. We couldn't do it without you!
 
HB 867 did get a hearing in the House Wildlife Resource Committee, but no vote was taken. There was an effort to amend the bill to make it more appealing to the commercial industry, but in the end, the alternative language would have been even more detrimental to our fisheries than status quo. While the coalition decided to continue to support the original bill, the legislative session ended without a vote on any relevant legislation. The promised support from House leadership did not materialize in the waning days of the legislative session. While certain legislative members did step up and lead in advocating for the passage of this bill, in the end, status quo won out this session.
 
The Coalition members were very disappointed by House leadership backing away from its commitment to pass this piece of legislation. House leadership seemed to listen more to a few very vocal and impassioned group of legislators, rather than the rational, fact-based majority of legislators.
 
This idea for reform of North Carolina's marine fisheries management system will not go away, however. There is too much momentum to stop it. It is just a matter of time, but the longer it takes, the more damage will be done to our fisheries, and the harder to bring the stocks back to sustainable levels. The Federation and Sound Solutions, however, will not give up telling the story and providing the science and facts as the basis of why the time is now for North Carolina to save its fish for all the people of the state. It is too important to stop now.
 
Sound Approach
 

The Sound Solutions approach involves three foundational tenets:

  • HABITAT: Strengthen protection of the waters and habitats that make up NC's inner coast, as well as those that flow into our sounds.
  • MANAGEMENT: Impact change in the way NC's marine fisheries and habitats are managed and regulated.
  • GEAR: Influence changes to destructive fishing gear and unsustainable methods. 

Show your support for sustainable marine resource conservation

DONATE NOW!


Edited by Rick - 14 July 2017 at 10:11am
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NC Fisheries Management- Motto: Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad   Slogan: Shrimp On! Mission Statement: Enable Commercial Fishing At Any and All Cost, Regardless of Impact to the Resource.
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