By Brent Fulcher
April 9, 2020
There have been several times over the years when our industry has called out the cavalry and arranged for buses and/or vans to carry our folks to Raleigh due to a bill in the General Assembly. Most recently in 2017 there was House Bill 867, and in 2013 the “Gamefish Bill”. Both efforts were successful and in both cases we were unified with one message. Combined with the many resolutions passed by local and county governments which were in agreement with our position and the coastal legislators who were also on board, the outcomes were positive.
I would like to make a couple of points though. The first is a rhetorical question: at what cost? Fishermen don’t make a dime when they take time off to go to Raleigh. They lose a day of fishing and also have the expense of the drive from the coast. Usually other family members also make the trip with many of them taking a day off without pay or losing a personal or vacation day from their employer. Because of those sacrifices, we are very cautious about issuing such a “call to arms”.
So what do we do between those crisis times?
We have NCFA to take care of business! That’s why it’s critical that all fishermen and fish houses are part of the half percent program and do their fair share to support the organization. Likewise, it’s important that legislators understand when they talk to Glenn Skinner or Jerry Schill, they are not hearing from one or two individuals, but are hearing the voices of thousands of fishermen and industry members of the North Carolina Fisheries Association.
For this upcoming short session beginning April 28th, NCFA will be in Raleigh as usual. We’re hopeful that our membership won’t have a crisis in Raleigh this year, but we do encourage you to attend the Legislative Seafood Reception in Raleigh scheduled for May 6th. It’s an excellent opportunity to speak to legislators from all over the state in an informal and enjoyable atmosphere.
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