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New Catch Limits for Some NC Fish

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has voted to place annual catch limits on some fish. The council is charged with preventing over-fishing off the coast of North Carolina and other south Atlantic states. The panel voted this week to limit catch totals on species like mackerel, grouper, and dolphin fish. Mike Leonard of the American Sportfishing Association says recreational fishermen are worried the decision could lead to stricter rules for more popular fish.

Mike Leonard: "These are catch limits that are not based on sound, scientific data of how these fish populations are doing. They're basing these off of how many pounds of fish that have been caught historically and that's really not, I don't think, the way these annual catch limits are supposed to be put in place."
Some of the species under new limits are not in immediate danger of over-fishing. But environmentalists support the new limits. Holly Binns of the Pew Environment Group says they prevent any future problems for south Atlantic fish.

Holly Binns: "You freeze the footprint now so that in five or ten years from now, we're not in a situation where we've depleted a number of these really valuable species, which is not good for the fish, but more importantly, it means that those populations wouldn't be able to support commercial fishing businesses and the recreational fishing industry."
The Secretary of Commerce has to approve the limits before they're final.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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