In 2015, a 60% fee increase was applied to six commercial licenses (Standard Commercial Fishing License, Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License, Shellfish License, Land and Sell License, Fish Dealer License, Recreational Commercial Gear License) to fund the North Carolina Commercial Fishing Resource Fund (CFRF). The CFRF is a special revenue fund in the office of the State Treasurer of North Carolina. The funds are collected through fees and penalties within the Department and support the development of sustainable commercial fishing in the State.
Six commercial fishing organizations (N.C. Fisheries Association, N.C. Watermen United, Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association, Brunswick County Fishermen’s Association, Carteret County Fishermen’s Association, Albemarle Fishermen’s Association) are responsible for appointing one member for an initial term on the North Carolina Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Committee. Additionally, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission’s three commercial fishing seat holders are part of the decision making process for proposals, directions, and projects of the fund.
On Wednesday, June 3, the N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Committee held a joint webinar meeting with the Marine Fisheries Committee’s three commercial fishing seat holders to vote on objectives and establish a request for proposals document (RFP). During the meeting, the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Committee and the Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Committee unanimously approved two proposals to determine the percentage of open bottom trawled by commercial shrimpers in North Carolina and an ecological impact analysis of bycatch throughout commercial and recreational fisheries. The dynamics of these studies have not been released to the public for review; however, they have certainly caught the attention of fishermen and other interested parties around the state.