Saltwater Fishing License
The House gave the initial OK to a massive rewrite of a flawed fishing license law passed last year that would require coastal saltwater anglers to get permits for the first time. Senate Bill 1126 would still require coastal recreational fishermen to get a license to fish, but it also would create a unified permit to fish in all public waters. Freshwater and commercial fishermen are already required to get a license. Proceeds from the new coastal recreational licenses would go to grants to improve marine resources. This is an important step in our state's 8-year effort to overhaul fishery management. North Carolina has been the only state on the Southeast coast without a recreational license. Bill opponents focused on a provision that would allow state fisheries inspectors the power to enforce federal marine fisheries law on out-of-state fishing vessels (which would draw down more than $1million in federal money). They also did not like the idea of requiring coastal residents to get a permit to fish off an inlet that may be in their backyard. The bill was tentatively approved 74-43 on Wednesday and received final approval by a vote of 73-34 on Thursday.