Environmentalists push to end the use of gill nets in NC

Environmentalists push to end the use of Gill Nets
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 6:53 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina is calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to deny the use of gill nets for fishing in the state of North Carolina.

Gill nets are typically used for hunting southern flounder.

NOAA granted Incidental Take Permits, or ITP’s for short, to the State Division of Marine Fisheries to continue using gill nets to harvest southern flounder back in 2013, despite the fatal impacts they have, killing other endangered marine wildlife like Atlantic sturgeon and sea turtles.

DMF has requested another ITP that would likely keep gill nets in use for several more years in the state. Environmentalists argue the use of the nets is unnecessary.

“We have found that the southern flounder fishery is overfished to the point where the catch is now controlled by a quota system so there’s no need to use this type of gear anymore because your quota is so small that it can be caught in these cleaner gear using pound nets or gigs without having to use a destructive gear,” said Coastal Conservation Association Executive Director David Sneed.

The Division of Marine Fisheries has also shortened the flounder harvest season to a 4-week window according to Sneed. That timeframe is also up for review with the possibility of being shortened due to overfishing.

NOAA is expected to decide in August on whether or not the ITP’s will be renewed again.