Committees reject idea of banning shrimp trawlers from inland waters

trawler at sunset

A shrimp trawler makes its way up the Neuse River on Monday night. Committees voted Tuesday night to reject a petition that would ban shrimp trawlers from inland waters.

Drew C. Wilson/Havelock News
Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 07:23 PM.

It will not be official until the Marine Fisheries Commission meets in late August, but a New Bern man’s petition to close North Carolina’s sounds and rivers to trawlers seemed to go down in flames Tuesday evening.

A joint meeting of the Finfish, Habitat and Water Quality, Sea Turtle, and Shellfish-Crustacian Advisory Committees focused on the petition, filed by Tim Hergenrader of New Bern at the Riverfront Convention Center. The meeting gave fisherman and others a chance to express opinions on the issue.

After several hours of statements from the large crowd, the four committees voted separately to reject the request with only one dissenting vote — that one being within the Shellfish committee — and one abstention in the sea turtle committee.

One fisheries commission officer estimated that more than 1,000 people attended the meeting, many to speak their piece and others to give support to the fishing industry. Only a couple spoke in favor of the proposed rule.

As a show of unity, many of the fishermen arrived in their shrimp trawlers, which began appearing off Union Point Park Monday. By nightfall, there were six trawlers and, by Tuesday’s 12:30 p.m. meeting, nearly two dozen of the large boats were at anchor off the point.

Hergenrader filed his petition on June 19 calling for a moratorium on fishing inside the COLREGS line — an internationally agreed upon line that separates the ocean from the sounds and inland waterways.

Hergenrader presented his petition to start the meeting.

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