Legislators mull fisheries fund proposal

Published: Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 11:51 AM.

The revenue for the proposed Commercial Fishing Resources Fund would come from a 100-percent increase in fees for several commercial fishing licenses and helps to address the issue of funding for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries observer program.

Observers gather information and watch for interaction with sea turtles in the gill net fishery. Observer coverage is required by the state’s sea turtle incidental take permit for the inshore gill net fisheries.

Schill said the proposal helps the state meet requirements and also creates a special revenue fund that would be used for projects to help sustain the commercial fishing industry.

The proposal received the support of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources and was endorsed by the Marine Fisheries Commission.

The budget proposal also includes other provisions that would affect the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Drew Elliot, communications director for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said all cabinet agency was asked to bring forth way to reduce the budget since revenues fell short of projections for the current budget cycle.

Part of the proposed reductions could include closing the DMF Nags Head office and reducing some of that office’s operations. Three of the five positions in the office would be eliminated, one of which is vacant and two that are filled. The remaining two positions would become home-based.

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