Once vibrant North Carolina fishing communities are becoming remnants of the past because of an arcane law praised in the April 21 editorial “A Good Law That’s Working.”
The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires any fishery deemed overfished to be rebuilt within 10 years — an arbitrary timeline. This effectively closes fisheries without allowing for any flexibility or modern stock assessment technologies to evaluate fishery health.
Without flexibility, fisheries that are rebuilt in less than a decade must remain closed, leaving fishermen stuck at the docks, and businesses from tackle shops to boat builders suffering. Our coastal economies are hemorrhaging jobs. Fishermen are now spending more time in the waters off South America’s coast, where they can fish without laws that straitjacket them.