Having failed this spring to reel in votes, the legislators who proposed declaring three species of fish off-limits to commercial fishermen are instead asking their colleagues to create a committee dedicated to studying that idea.
The sponsors of HB353, known as the "game fish bill," have resurrected the legislation for inclusion in the Studies Act of 2011, which lawmakers could pass when they resume work July 13. In its current form, the Studies Act calls for the creation of the Marine Fisheries Legislative Study Committee, whose members would consider a wide range of ways to overhaul fishing laws.
The original idea behind HB353 - to designate red drum, spotted sea trout and striped bass as game fish, making them illegal to sell - remains on the proposed committee's agenda. Additional ideas to study include the creation of a hook-and-line commercial fishery, changes to the process of appointments to the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission and the elimination of the trawl boat fishery.