Alexandria, Va. – The American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) Board of Directors voted in favor of supporting the NC Sound Economy initiative at their spring meeting in late March. The NC Sound Economy is a newly formed and growing coalition of recreational fishermen, business leaders and concerned citizens that work together to urge state legislators to adopt fisheries management policies that both grow the fishery in North Carolina’s sounds and maximize its economic benefits.
Recreational fishing is an important component of the large and diverse fishing economy in North Carolina’s coastal areas; creating important travel, tourism and manufacturing jobs. Unfortunately, the state’s management of fisheries resources has led to dramatic fish declines and a struggling fishing economy.
“ASA is proud to work with our members and partner organizations in North Carolina to focus on revamping the state’s fisheries management system in a way that will provide for better fisheries conservation and angler access,” said Scott Gudes, Vice President of Government Affairs at ASA. “Many of North Carolina’s coastal fisheries are depleted, harming both the recreational and commercial fishing industries. The NC Sound Economy is focused on improving the health of fisheries resources and, in turn, maximizing their economic benefits to the state.”
According to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries’ data, only three out of 13 North Carolina state-managed coastal finfish and shellfish stocks can currently be considered “viable.” The NC Sound Economy believes the legislature should reform fishery management laws to address this problem, make it the state’s top priority to grow the fishing economy in a sustainable way and streamline regulatory decision-making using the best and latest scientific research.
“The struggles North Carolina’s fisheries are experiencing are not unique. They are not unsolvable, either. ASA looks forward to working as part of the NC Sound Economy Coalition to put in place a well-functioning fisheries management system that improves the health of the state’s fisheries resources and the economy it supports,” concluded Gudes.
ASA became an official sponsor of the NC Sound Economy on March 24, 2017.