November 19, 2014 Updated 3 hours ago
Cold weather might reduce the number of trips North Carolinians make to the coast, but CCA North Carolina intends to keep coastal waters on fishermen’s minds.
The state chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association has launched a billboard, website and social media campaign targeting inshore gill net fishing and inshore shrimp trawling to “make N.C. citizens statewide aware of what’s taking place with their public trust resources,” Greg Hurt, chairman of the 3,000-member CCA NC, said Monday night.
“It’s something that our state has allowed and states from the Gulf (of Mexico) all the way around the Atlantic Seaboard don’t allow,” he said.
For each pound of shrimp harvested, inshore trawling produces 4.5 pounds of bycatch, or small fish that are thrown away dead, Hurt said, including recreationally significant species such as weakfish (gray trout), spot and croaker. About 6 million pounds of shrimp are harvested each season in the state, with about 26 million pounds of bycatch, typically fish the size of shrimp or a bit larger, Hurt said.
One billboard shows piles of small fish on a boat and reads “400 million fish are killed each year by inshore shrimp trawlers. This is not sustainable fishing!” Another billboard shows a sea turtle wrapped in fishing line; it reads, “Gillnets should be a relic of our past. Not part of our future.” Each billboard includes the Web address saveNCsounds.org.
The 12 billboards are located along Interstates 85 and 40 plus U.S. routes 264 and 70. The intent is to educate residents who don’t live along the coast and to reach legislators who reconvene this winter.
Hurt said the issue is not commercial versus recreational. Small N.C. shrimpers don’t inflict the damage caused by 90- to 100-foot trawlers, many from out of state, that pull up to four trawls and sweep the Pamlico Sound around the clock when shrimp are present.
“We’re not opposed to shrimping,” Hurt said. “We believe that the large boats need to get out of the inshore waters … our primary and secondary nursery areas for these species. The solution would be these larger boats continue their shrimping operations, but do so in the ocean.”
Hurt said CCA NC is “making a significant investment” for the campaign, which was created by CCA NC staff and is scheduled to run through the first quarter of 2015.
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Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/19/4336685/billboards-targeting-big-trawlers.html#storylink=cpy
This article was written by SaveNCSounds Staff