House Bill 983 diminishes food sovereignty in North Carolina by restricting the harvest of red drum, spotted sea trout, and striped bass to recreational fishermen, reserving those nutritious food sources to less than 3 percent of the state’s population. The bill would deprive consumers of access to fresh, locally harvested fish by prohibiting harvest by the commercial fishermen who bring those fish from sea to shore for NC consumers. Gamefish designation for these 3 species, as proposed in HB 983, is not a conservation measure. It is an allocation of a public trust resource to a small, exclusive percentage of the population. Red drum, spotted sea trout, and striped bass should be available for the benefit and enjoyment of all North Carolina citizens.
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