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Thinking of buying some local shrimp? Think again.

Thinking of buying some local shrimp? Think again.

Getting fresh, local shrimp just got much harder, thanks to a new regulation passed by the Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC).

The push has been on for several years to limit North Carolina shrimpers from harvesting their crop, and was finally successful thanks in large part to a controversial lobbyist. The lobbyist group is Coastal Conservation Association (CCA).

How was this group able to dominate the Commission and sway the vote toward their side?

Politics, of course.

State law says the MFC is supposed to balance the interests of commercial and recreational fisheries in its role of managing the state’s fisheries resources.

In late 2015, former Governor Pat McCrory awarded the lobbyists a majority of seats on the Commission.

Last week the state’s shrimping industry was dealt a crippling blow due to these political machinations.

Citing one-sided and incomplete research data to provide sound bites for their cause, the group claimed certain species of fish were threatened by shrimpers. The Commission passed over data contradicting those claims presented by biologists and coastal community leaders.

In addition, the group ignored:

  • Numerous concerns cited by fishermen (recreational and commercial) and citizens.
  • The communities affected by this regulation as they were not part of the petition creating process.
  • All of North Carolina’s marine fisheries advisory boards. These boards voted against the proposed regulation, but their protests fell on deaf ears.

Also ignored in this process was peer reviewed science that shows shrimp trawling encourages marine growth. The trawls aerate the mud and pollution sludge so that worms and small creatures that fish eat can grow.

The study found that there was more fish and ecological activity where shrimpers were trawling. And, conversely, in areas not trawled by shrimpers there was less ecological activity and less fish.

To pass this unnecessary regulation, this lobbying group circumvented the existing Shrimp Management plan which shrimpers, scientist, and industry leaders have been working diligently to reduce by catch with promising results.

We cannot manage our fisheries via petition from special-interest groups.

Parts of our marine ecosystem are not the same as they were 50 years ago, for a host of reasons to include climate change, pollution, hurricanes, dredging, coastal development and fisherman effort. At this critical time, we need collaborative fisherman leadership and smart ecological scientists to study, regulate, and actively promote a robust marine ecosystem.

States like Alaska and Louisiana have shown that with state support there is plenty of room to promote and protect our marine ecosystem for science, recreation and seafood harvest.

It’s not merely the commercial fishermen’s livelihood that suffers; it’s the seafood markets and restaurants, the fragile seafood infrastructure, the scientists who utilize commercial fisherman for data and most importantly the ordinary citizens who rely on the efforts of commercial fisherman for their seafood.

If we focus on pollution, habitat enhancement, collaborative management, ecological science, and valuing the cultural, nutritional, and recreational value of North Carolina seafood and its harvesters, we can do great things.

North Carolina needs to bring a balance to our Marine Fisheries Commission and not allow special interest groups to pit commercial fishermen against recreational fishermen because it does not benefit the citizens of our state.

To help, please call or email or legislators and help take a stand for NC Seafood!

Governor Cooper 919.814.2000

Representative Moore    919-733-3451

Senator Berger     (919) 733-5708

Representative Grange    919-733-5830

Representative Butler    919-733-5754

Representative Davis     919-733-5786

Senator Lee      (919) 715 2525

Marine Fisheries Commission–

Mark Gorges, Chuck Laughridge, Rick Smith, Mike Wicker, and Brad Koury gave the commission a super majority to pass the petition, all 3 commercial fishing representatives voted against the petition.

Articles exposing the corruption of the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Petition:

Articles separating shrimping facts from fiction:


  1. D

    Done, and done!

  2. leslie daniels

    This is great!

    1. Chris Thomas

      What is great??

  3. Monty R Willis

    It is a sad day in the tarheel state when greed controls the lives of commercial fishermen and the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries biological data is ignored because it does not support the action taken by the Marine Fisheries Commission. Being a retired NC Marine Patrol Officer and having interacted with over my career with various MFC members, I truly feel this group on the MFC do in fact have a hidden agenda. When the DMF data is ignored perhaps it is time to close down the agency that monitors the resource for the citizens and not those having CCA memberships!

    1. Carolyn

      You are so right. Shaking my head – but what else can we expect from. McCrory appointment? Governor Cooper will listen I hope.

  4. mallie pennington

    What changes did this regulation include?? What is the new regulation?

    1. Wmericl

      The new regulations limit shrimping in backwaters that are basically nurseries where juvenile flounder and redfish grow… if you are a recreational fisherman you are not allowed to keep fish under a certain size… yet trawlers catch millions of pounds of juvenile fish each year (called bycatch) which are killed and dumped back into the ocean. .. ever notice birds and sharks following trawlers… that is why. They limited trawling in inshore waters. The article cited Louisiana and Alaska. .. Louisiana passed this same law 20 years ago when they realized that they were destroying the redfin population. .. so has Georgia and Mississippi.

  5. Michael Midgett

    For any that doubt the validity of the statement that trawling helps the bottom by keeping it stirred, look no further than the New River in Onslow County.
    The majority of the river has been closed since 1980 and another section only opens after August 16.
    Brown and spotted shrimp no longer grow in the river and Spots, Croakers and Gray Trout are nonexistent as well. One thing that is thriving? Pin Fish.
    If the MFC has their way, Pamlico Sound will be the same way.

  6. Jesse Massey

    Who better knows the sea life then the people that have been around it all their life.

  7. Joe McDuffy

    Just another reason in a very long line of reasons I am so glad to be done with and over the confusing and backward thinking of our former governor.
    He is such a disappointment I will not mention his name, even though I am a registered voter with his party. God speed Governor Cooper to get my native & Great state of NC back on track! I know several commercial fishermen very well and they may the best environmentalists that I know. Sham on you CCA.

  8. Joe McDuffy


  9. Elaine Crittenton

    This is driven by the very wealthy recreational fishermen. It has nothing to do with ecology, nothing to do with conservation, and is not backed by true science. The claims by the CCA and WLF are unsubstantiated and completely unreasonable. These men should be removed from their posts. Every single individual with a horse in this race, who are fishermen or concerned for fishermen, and concerned for access to our rightful state resources should gather and and take this to the capital. There is strength in numbers. It would take a little while to organize, but it can be done. I also think we should design our own petitions since it appears the commission will consider anything that is submitted by anyone. Make it absolutely as difficult on them as we can should be our goal!!

  10. Wayne

    I say vote them asses out and let’s try to get this overturned

  11. Sue Tuman

    I am shocked to hear what has been happening to our local shrimpers and to our wonderful New River. Just being someone who loves to eat local shrimp, I have been unaware of all the nasty activity being handled under the radar to help people who have no true interest in our state and its people, not just its wildlife and marine life. But then, look what has happened on the national level. The question is: how low will we fall before we can find a way to force all of these jerks out and elect and appoint only people who actually care for our state and country.

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