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Letter to the Editor: Trawling hurts fish population

Regarding the Feb. 15 Point of View “YES: To save N.C. fish, limit shrimp trawling”: I agree with the proposed ban on all inshore bottom trawling in North Carolina.

Amazingly, we are the only state that still allows it. It catches juvenile fish by the millions, despite the “excluders.” It also catches crabs and shellfish, too. It damages the critical grassbeds. It indiscriminately removes anything in the trawl’s path.

I pulled shrimp nets many years ago. I’ve seen it first-hand. It is akin to clear-cutting our forests, except that it is out of sight of the public’s eyes, therefore most people have no clue as to what is really going on.

What’s worse is that not all of the juvenile fish are “bycatch” from the shrimp industry as is claimed. It is intentional. I’ve seen pallets stacked with dozens of 50-pound boxes of 3-inch-long fish that were targeted for use as nothing more than crab bait. They were mostly croakers, spot and grey trout, which have all seen declines over the years.

The grey trout limit for recreational fishing is one fish greater than 12 inches long, yet the trawlers legally take millions that are a third of that size. It’s a shame and it needs to stop. The resource is not unlimited.




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