Dare County Joins Lawsuit Opposing Supplement Process to Implement Reductions of Southern Flounder
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At a special meeting on September 21, the Dare County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to join Hyde and Carteret counties in a lawsuit that challenges the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission's use of a supplement process that will drastically reduce the catch of Southern Flounder. Dare County will not be responsible for any financial costs associated with the litigation.
Attorney Steve Weeks presented information about the importance of commercial fishing in North Carolina's coastal counties and said he estimates the economic impact of the supplement restrictions will range from $1.6 to two million each year.
According to a 2014 economic profile of commercial fishing communities in North Carolina, Dare County had close to 1,000 licenses issued to commercial fishermen and about half of them are used each year. Around 90% of the active fishermen in Dare County claim that more than 50% of their income is from commercial fishing, the most of any coastal county in the state.
Commissioners approved three separate resolutions in 2015 opposing use of the supplement process. The most recent resolution in December condemned the Marine Fisheries Commission's decision to implement the supplement process rather than using a Fisheries Management Plan to incorporate peer reviewed science, stakeholder input, and other pertinent facts to establish the policy.