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Carteret County NC Commercial Fishing And Marine Fisheries Discussions

This is a discussion forum for the public to learn more about how NC Marine Fisheries rules, regulations, enforcement, and restrictions affect commercial fishing in Carteret County NC waterways, sounds, bays, and rivers.

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To participate, use the discussion form below to subscribe to and leave detailed information on this topic and we will add relevant information to the body of this article. We are looking for intellectual thought here and healthy discussions on the topics as it relations to regulations, enforcement, rules, and restrictions.

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Carteret NC Marine Fisheries And Commercial Fishing


The commercial fishing industry is a very entrenched industry in the county that is the livelihood of many in all communities in the local area. The heritage and culture of this industry is very important for local folks especially in areas down east near Harkers Island, Marshallberg, Bettie, Otway, Davis, and Cedar Island.

Additionally, this industry is a very significant part of the local economy and drives one of our largest festivals in the area. In fact, the harvesting of seafood and shellfish from NC waters is a considerable part of the state economy. Tourist from all over the world travel to the county to experience the best in fresh seafood.

NC Marine Fisheries is a division of the state department of environmental quality that maintains and enforces laws centered around recreational fishing and the harvesting of seafood at the commercial level. This agency establishes laws to protect the environment, hatcheries, shellfish, and many other areas within the scope of the industry.

As you can imagine, there have been times in Carteret County where local fishermen and their livelihoods were threatened over new laws and regulations set forth by marine fisheries. And, there have been times where recreational fishing rules and restrictions directly impacted the commercial side of this industry.

For the average person not working in this industry, or knowledgeable on enforcement efforts and government rules, things can be hard to follow many times. But be sure, conflict between this industry and state and local government has a big impact on our local economy.

With that said, using the discussion form below, what are some past issues and conflicts where marine fisheries has been at odds with commercial and recreational fishing interest, and what was the final resolution to these issues?

What are some conflicts that are active right now?

What are some issues that are UNIQUE to Carteret County waterways that are not an issue in other NC coastal regions in the state?

What are some local organizations and non-profits that protect the interest of commercial fishing in the county, and what are some organizations that advocate for local hatcheries, fisheries, and water quality in the local communities?

Is there a consistent and persistent divide between conservationist and the livelihood of those that make a living from this industry? What are the solutions?

In the past, has county government at the commissioners level or municipal government at the local level been at odds with the state or federal government when it comes to protecting local natural resources versus ensuring that those in the commercial fishing industry and recreational fishing community can make a living or enjoy tourism related opportunities in the area?

Are there any ongoing conflicts at the commercial and recreational level?


October 2021: Fisheries commission announced proposed changes to the state’s shellfish lease and aquaculture program which they say would streamline the process for lease applications, grievances, and production reporting of lease transfers and subleases. Proposed rule changes include types of shellfish management areas, to include oyster management areas and sanctuaries. The commission says they are accepting public hearings on these rules changes.

September 2020: The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission gave the green light for an advisory committee which will allow scientist, recreational, and commercial fisherman to have their inputs to state fishery managers. To qualify as a committee member, an applicant must not have had a serious infraction within the past three years. To learn more, call 252-808-8022 or 800-682-2632.

Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

One thought on “Carteret County NC Commercial Fishing And Marine Fisheries Discussions

  • May 6, 2021 at 5:10 am

    In 2021, 5.2 million dollars in Coronavirus relief and financial assistance was distributed by The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, of which 33 seafood dealers, commercial fishermen, aquaculture operations, and for-hire fishing companies received $338,954.61 in funds. The money was given out as part of the federal CARES act.


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