This story and the video can be found on this site: North Carolina Commercial Fishing Industry Taking a Spill
Cedar Island ? The North Carolina Seafood Festival wrapped up Sunday night in Morehead City. A popular topic of conversation among festival-goers was commercial fishing in the state.
Cheaper imports, inexpensive foreign labor and consumers looking for a deal are taking a toll on the industry.
Bradley Styrons owns a small fish-house in Cedar Island.
"l buy fish, shrimp, clams, whatever comes in," Styrons said. He added, however, that not much comes in these days.
"What used to be a fairly good way of making a living has disappeared," he said.
Styrons puts part of the fault on hurricanes devastating the coast, but mostly he blames foreign competition for devastating fair trade.
"We're trying to compete globally, where we can't compete. We can't compete with Third World countries shipping seafood in here," he said.
North Carolina is in a five-year downward spiral when it comes to commercial fishing. Low prices for catch and increased regulations keep many fishing boats at the dock.
"The number of trips the fishermen are taking is down, and the landings are way down," Patricia Smith, with the North Carolina Marine Fisheries, said.
"A lot of people have had to get out and go find other employment," Styrons said.
"People are holding on to their licenses and what we're hearing is they are hoping they can come back at some point. They've been through bad times before, and they hope they can come back," Smith said.
But hope does not pay the bills, and it will take more than a good day on the water for the local industry to survive.
"The country has to decide, what do they want? Do they want in 10 years to be totally dependent on third world countries? Or do they want a viable industry in this country? That's the decision that has to be made. And we're running out of time," Styrons said.
I don't believe were bringing up anything new here that has not be talked about before. How many times have I talked about unreasonable fishery regulations and flash frozen seafood, and 40 percent of our seafood being imported?
North Carolinas coastal commercial fishery communities were once one of the most viable in the nation. Now much of the shrimp, gillnet, trawler, and bandit boats are tied to the dock.
The squeeze will continue on the commercial fishing industry and interestingtly I was speaking to a commercial fishermen from that state who said the commercial snowy grouper daily landing limit per boat was being lowered from 175 lbs to 100 lbs per trip. Here is a fishery with few participants yet the SAFMC is taking pre-emptive restrictions in these specialized fishery. They are turning this fishery from one that is 'directed' to one that is becoming a 'bycatch', while fishing for other deep water bottom fish.
Chris-twofinbluna...I wish I could dig up the article I read a few years ago about the over whelming growing dependence of the state of Maine lobster boat building business, on sales from out of state as the local in state lobster industry is not buying as many boats as in the past. It is as simple to see this when we read the CFN and view the pages devoted to new boats being sold to fishermen in other states.
This trend will accelerate at a faster pace as fuel costs will rise to levels where it will make it uneconomical for fishermen to turn the key and leave the dock. Already a number of analyst are talking about a barrel of oil breaking through the 100 dollar ceiling during the fast half of the year, and that next year, prices of 125-150 dollars a barrel BEING FORECASTED.
It was only a year ago when a Goldman-Sachs oil analyst stating 100 dollar a barrel oil coming in the year 2007. Many of us thought it was impossible...but now we are right at the cusp of that magical number.
Just think back a few years ago when diesel could of been bought for 99 cents a gallon, and now is currently closing in on the 4 dollar a gallon mark.
Compare that to the return on fish from the market. Has the return RISEN almost 4x times to compensate for the rise of fuel, and other associated expenses? Has the price on fish from say the early eighties to the fishermen risen at the same rate as fuel costs?
Bad times, and getting worse. Again I state, the only ones left standing in this industry will be either the most capitalized or those diversified businesses, specifically corporations whose bottom line is not wholly dependent on income from fishing.
Get used to the bad news because it is more then a sign of these times...... It will be everyday reality.
EC NEWELL MAN<>