Coastal growth squeezes out tradition


Is it time for North Carolina to designate historic fishing communities protected heritage sites?

Ivey Gaskill remembers when there were plenty of fish houses on his native Harkers Island for Down East fishermen to market their catch.

The last one on the Carteret County island closed in spring 2006.

Gaskill told the Star-News in Wilmington, N.C., that he fears Southport, and the entire state's coastline, might not be too far behind.

Related: Water pollution is hurting one of North Carolina's most historic fisheries

"They're forgetting about people who have a livelihood," said the commercial fisherman as he unloaded his catch of bluefish, shark and Spanish mackerel at Tatum Seafood, the only fish house left along the Southport Yacht Basin.

"The North Carolina coast is becoming a rich man's playground."

The N.C. Fisheries Association, said the loss of places for commercial fisherman to tie up their boats and sell their catch is probably a contributing factor to a nearly 23 percent decline in their numbers since 2000. 

Related: Young fishermen are struggling. Here's how you can help.

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