'It puts the little man out of business'


A proposal to shut down 69,000 acres of North Carolina waters to shrimp trawling means less shrimp, higher prices and so many fishing families wondering how they’ll get by.

Do you love buying shrimp at roadside stands, farmers markets and fish houses? Closures will devastate rural fishing communities and destroy the livelihoods of fishing families who work hard getting wild-caught North Carolina shrimp to your table. They are your only access to local shrimp.

North Carolina’s commercial fishing fleet is mostly made up of small crews who work on modest-size boats. Seventy percent of trawlers are less than 50 feet long. The most common vessel size pulling otter trawls, a type of shrimp net, is between 20 and 29 feet long. Bigger boats have three- or four-person crews while smaller boats are fished solo or with just one additional deckhand.

Kinship is a defining feature of our state's fishing industry. Most boats represent family businesses that have been passed down through the generations. Crews are often related. Boats and fishing gear are typically built and maintained by local families. Seafood packing houses – better known as “fish houses” – are deeply rooted in communities.

The number of men and women who are shrimping in North Carolina waters has decreased by half since the early 2000s to 750 fishermen. The number of fishing trips is down too. Yet, shrimp landings have increased, indicating both the fishery's healthy condition and the fact that fishermen are shrimping smarter and more efficiently to get seafood on your plate.

Learn how you can help...

As shrimp fisherman Zack Davis of Marshallberg told the Carteret County New-Times in a Nov. 7, 2021, article, the proposed closures are “detrimental to the industry as a whole.”

“It puts the little man out of business, the people with boats in the 40- to 50-foot range,” Mr. Davis said.

He added that shrimpers would be forced to travel to open waters, where weather and waves can be life-threatening to smaller vessels.

"When you stick those boats in the middle of Pamlico Sound, there’s a chance for loss of life.”

Read the full story in the Carteret County News-Times...

Post search