A bill that would designate three types of fish as coastal game fish is pitting commercial fishermen against recreational anglers.
The StarNews of Wilmington reported Saturday that the bill would bar the sale of red drum, spotted sea trout and striped bass and would require those species be taken by hook and line fishing only.
The bill gives commercial fishermen some relief by having the state pay them what they would have made off those fish for three years, up to $1 million each.
The goal is the preservation of the species, but the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries opposes the bill. Agency director Louis Daniel says game fish status would give the recreational fishermen preference over commercial ones.