Dozens of North Carolina coastal fishermen are making their voices heard on legislation that would essentially prevent commercial boats from catching and selling three fish species.
Commercial operators outnumbered recreational fishermen in the number of speakers Monday at a public hearing at the legislature about the House measure to designate red drum, spotted sea trout and striped bass as game fish. That means they could only be caught by hook-and-line fishermen.
Bill supporters say the proposal would revive fish stocks and generate coastal recreational fishing tourism and jobs.
Commercial fishermen argue it would destroy their businesses and way of life.
David Jarvis of Hubert says the three fish comprise 20 percent of his fishing income.
The bill provides money to help harmed commercial fishermen and manage commercial fish stocks.