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Study: Patient Fishermen Could See Bigger Revenue, Healthier Shrimp Fisheries

A picture of a shrimp trawler.
NOAA Fishwatch

A Duke University study says North Carolina coastal fishermen could make more money and preserve the shrimp fishery, if they'd wait until late in the season for the big catch.

Duke Environmental Economics Professor Martin Smith is a lead author of the study. He analyzed State Marine Fisheries data showing fishing vessel size, the size of the catch, and what it sold for on a daily basis over six years.

“In a fishery like North Carolina shrimp fishery, what we need to do is find a way to get people to exert less effort early in the season so that there are more and larger shrimp to catch later in the season.”

Martin says the larger the shrimp, the higher the market price. 

“The resource base is finite, it varies from one year to the next and in order to get the most out of it, there has to be some coordination of the people who are fishing.  And that's simply not happening.”

He suggests forming co-ops could be one way to begin to implement the model.  

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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