Resolve to be involved
Buying local isn't enough to ensure safe, sustainable seafood on your table. Speaking up for commercial fishing families is just as important. Here’s how.
"Seafood consumers, an untold subset of North Carolina's population of 10.7 million, are an important fisheries stakeholder group, yet they are consistently left out of fisheries management discussions and decisions," NC Catch 2022 board chair Barbara Garrity-Blake says.
Those decisions on when and how commercial fishers may work play a big role in determining the seafood you find at the market. If local fishermen cannot work, imported seafood fills the gap.
Make a New Year’s resolution to speak up for local seafood and the hard-working families who bring it to your table. Here’s how to do it.
Understand how rules impact your seafood
Follow the Weekly Update from the N.C. Fisheries Association. The newsletter breaks down the facts behind misinformation and tells you how rules and regulations impact commercial fishing.
Speak up for your seafood
Watch NC Catch's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for rapid response alerts that let you know when critical issues may affect your access to safe, local seafood and how you can speak up. Never hesitate to write a letter, share an email or speak in person during public comment periods.
Understand how your seafood is managed
“U.S. fishermen operate in some of the most sustainably managed and heavily regulated fisheries in the world,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Know the six regulatory and law-making bodies that manage fisheries in North Carolina.
- N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission oversees fishing in state coastal waters up to 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission manages species like striped bass that migrate between East Coast state waters.
- South Atlantic Fishery Management Council takes care of fisheries in federal Atlantic Ocean waters (from 3 to 200 miles) off North Carolina to Florida. The panel often deals with grouper, tuna, mahi, snapper, triggerfish, mackerel, shrimp and sea bass.
- Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council oversees fisheries in federal Atlantic Ocean waters (from 3 to 200 miles) off New York to Virginia, but North Carolina has voting members on the panel because some Mid-Atlantic issues directly impact N.C. fishers. The panel often deals with bluefish, tilefish, monkfish and mackerel.
- N.C. General Assembly and U.S. Congress also take action on fisheries. Don’t just know your representatives. Also know state senators and representatives who represent the North Carolina coast. They may introduce bills that could supersede state regulatory bodies that lawmakers already designated to manage fisheries.
Stay in the know
Sign up for our NC Catch newsletter. You’ll learn about issues, our state’s fishing history and traditional seafood recipes.
Also bookmark the following news links for each of the fisheries regulatory bodies. They all share notices about new rules on commercial fishing. You can filter news by topic and see a calendar of upcoming meetings.
- Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission news
- N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission news
- South Atlantic council news
- Mid-Atlantic Council news
Know your seafood decision makers
Each regulatory panel's website lists member names, bios and contact info. Bookmark these links to keep up with who’s who.
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