Commercial Fishing

North Carolina’s unique location and geography bring a wealth of marine fisheries to our coastline. Cape Hatteras functions as a dividing point — mid-Atlantic species thrive to the north, whereas the south attracts warmer water species. Offshore, the Gulf Stream brings in pelagic fish that roam the ocean. And millions of acres of estuaries offercheap abilify ideal spawning and nursery grounds for many fish and shellfish species. The result? A commercial fishing industry valued in the billions.

Fishing by the numbers
  • $82,284,514 = the combined total of NC commercial landings in 2007.
  • 62,903,307 = total pounds of fish and shellfish caught in NC
- Source: NC DMF, 2007 commercial

New gear and handling

41-1Sea Grant recognizes that commercial fishing is part of the very fabric of North Carolina’s coastal heritage. We take great pride in working with the fishing community to research new gear and handling practices that limit damage to the surrounding environment and reduce bycatch, but also allow for maximum profitable catches.

Some of our recent outreach efforts in this area include:

Management Issues

Top 5 Species for NC Fisheries
1. Blue Crabs
2. Shrimp
3. Croaker
4. Summer Flounder
5. Bluefish
*Top fish by pounds. Source: NC DMF, 2007 commercial and recreational statistics

untitled33Much of our fisheries research also is used by local and state governing bodies to develop better fishery management plans and to improve mechanisms for analysis and decision-making. Our latest effort in this area outlines how the state’s fisheries management plans are developed. The booklet also identifies how the public can participate in fisheries management in North Carolina.

Working Waterfronts

wancheseboatsAccess to working waterfronts is another major issue facing the commercial fishing industry in North Carolina. Many areas once reserved for commercial boats are being sold and developed into private waterfronts, making it increasingly difficult for watermen to earn a living.

Sea Grant heard about the severity of this issue from commercial fishermen in 2006 and 2007 when it ran the state’s Waterfront Access Study Committee (WASC). The final WASC report helped lead to the creation of the N.C. Waterfront Access ad Marine Industry (WAMI) Fund for the purchase of coastal waterfront properties and the development of public and commercial waterfront access facilities.


Photos: NCSG Stock, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Mike Halminski