Gamefish bill left to sink in state House committee

By on May 29, 2013

(N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries)

(N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries)

A bill that would have banned commercial fisherman from catching and selling puppy drum, speckled trout and striped bass will not be passed by the General Assembly this session.

Rep. Paul Tine, D-Dare, said Wednesday the gamefish bill would not make it out of a House committee because of opposition from Democrats and Republicans.

“I spoke with the bill sponsor this evening after the bill was considered in the majority caucus and he assured me the bill will not be run or folded into the budget,” Tine said in a statement.

“It was truly a bipartisan effort to defeat the bill and it would not have happened without all the work of the opponents who made sure their voice would be heard in Raleigh.”

House Bill 983, introduced by Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, and Rep. Michael Wray, D-Northampton, would have only allowed recreational catches of the three popular species with hook-and-line. It also would have compensated commercial fisherman for losses and funded inlet dredging projects.

Because the bill included state spending aspects, it was still eligible for passage during the current session, despite not clearing at least one chamber before the crossover deadline of May 16.

Attempts to pass similar measures in the 2009 and 2011 sessions also failed.

“This bill pitted the recreational interests against the commercial fisherman, the consumer, the fish houses, the restaurants and the seafood stores,” Tine said.

“The bill sponsor was fair in the process allowing all sides to be heard. Most legislators decided that it was best that all sides have access to these public trust fisheries.”

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