1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Barbara Garrity-Blake, Susan West
  • The Fisheries Reform Act is the most significant fisheries legislation in NC history. 

    In 1994, the NC General Assembly approved a moratorium on the sale of new commercial fishing licenses and established the 19-member Fisheries Moratorium Steering Committee to oversee study of the state's entire coastal fisheries management process and to recommend changes to improve that process.  The Moratorium Steering Committee included legislators, fisheries managers, scientists, commercial fishermen, and recreational fishermen. The committee commissioned six research studies and reviewed a broad range of issues, including fishing licenses, fishing gears, habitat protection, agency organization, and law enforcement.  The committee issued a draft report in late summer 1996, held 19 public meetings across the state, and adopted a final report in October 1996 that formed the basis for the Fisheries Reform Act.   Governor James B. Hunt signed the Act into law on August 14, 1997.

    The 1997 NC Fisheries Reform Act: An Oral History Perspective was made possible by the North Carolina Sea Grant Community Collaborative Research Grant Program.

Interviewee Collection Sort descending Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation
Richard "Dick" Brame 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

Dick Brame, former North Carolina director of the Coastal Conservation Association recounts his experiences during the passage of the 1997 NC Fisheries Reform Act.

Scott Baker Wilmington, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
B.J. Copeland 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

 B.J. Copeland is a former professor of limnology at North Carolina State and director of the North Carolina Sea Grant College. The interview covers his involvement in the passage of the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997.

Mary Williford Bear Creek, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
Mac Currin 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

In this interview, Mac Currin recounts his experiences working with members of the fishing industry during the formation of the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997. Throughout this life, he worked as a school teacher, research technician and biologist. Currin offers perspectives on the motivations that drove the FRA.

Sara Mirabilio Raleigh, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
Jess Hawkins 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

Jess Hawkins began working for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries in 1978 and has enjoyed a long career as a fisheries biologist and Marine Fisheries Commission Liaison. He also teaches at Duke University's Beaufort Marine Lab. In this interview, he describes the ideas behind the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 and his relationships with the other major figures who took part in that legislation.
 

Barbara Garrity-Blake Morehead City, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
Robert Lucas 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

Robert Lucas, former Chairman of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission led efforts to pass the 1997 Fisheries Reform Act. In this oral history, Lucas discusses his law career and how he became involved in fisheries issues in the mid-1990's. He provides insight into how the law was shaped through public meetings and negotiation with stakeholders.

Mary Williford Selma, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
Pam Davis Morris 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

In this interview, Pam Davis Morris, a commercial fisher living on Harkers Island, shares her recollections of how she entered the industry and how commercial fishing has changed during her career. Some of the topics included in the interview are "clam kicking," the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 and the Moratorium Steering Committee.

Barbara Garrity-Blake Harkers Island, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
Beverly Perdue 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

North Carolina's 73rd state governor, Beverly Perdue, who served from 2009-2013 discusses her political career and the Fisheries Reform Act. Perdue describes campaigning and the challenges of establishing bridges between the commercial and recreational fishing communities.

Barbara Garrity-Blake, Mary Williford New Bern, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
Willy Phillips 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

This is an interview with seafood dealer Willy Phillips, owner of Full Circle Crab Company in Columbia, NC. Phillips describes his business and efforts to fight for clean water protections in North Carolina's estuaries. He also offers insight into the actions of the Moratorium Steering Committee and the process of crafting the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997.

Barbara Garrity-Blake Columbia, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
Sandy Semans Ross 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

Former Vice President of Communications for the North Carolina Fisheries Association, Sandy Semans Ross, discusses in this interview her work as a fisheries advocate during the mid-1990s. Her interview includes perspectives on the Fisheries Reform Act and opinions on portrayals of the commercial fishing industry.

Susan West Stumpy Point, NC Carolina Coastal Voices
Jerry Schill 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

Executive Director of the North Carolina Fisheries Association, Jerry Schill, discusses the history of the NCFA, his role as director and the development of the 1997 Fisheries Reform Act. He offers insights on the key political figures who were active in the process and describes the tensions surrounding the bill.

Susan West New Bern, NC Carolina Coastal Voices