Dedicated to Sustainability
All of North Carolina’s fisheries are required by law to be managed for sustainability. This law is called the Fisheries Reform Act (FRA). The FRA was adopted in 1997 and contains the legal framework for the fishery management process that North Carolina’s managers must adhere to. Fortunately for North Carolinians, our commercial fishermen are national leaders in bycatch reduction and are dedicated to developing gear and best practices that will preserve our fisheries for generations to come. To demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, NC commercial fishermen:
- Supported the first efforts to reduce the bycatch of juvenile finfish in North Carolina, which identified and designated nursery areas for juvenile finfish, shrimp, and crabs. This has resulted in approximately 170,000 acres of estuarine habitat being designated as nursery areas. After more than 35 years, North Carolina remains the only state that has formally designated nursery areas.
- Played a key role in developing and testing finfish excluders for shrimp trawls, which allow up to 70% of juvenile finfish to escape. Because of these efforts, North Carolina was the first state to require fish excluders in shrimp trawls in all internal waters.
- Stepped up to work with state and federal managers to perfect the first Turtle Excluder Device (TED) which now boasts nearly a 100% reduction in the bycatch of endangered sea turtles.