• Minimum-size North Carolina catch rules narrowly clear House

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's significant commercial and recreational marine fish species all would be subject to minimum-length catch thresholds in legislation that cleared one General Assembly chamber.

    Thursday's 58-47 House vote didn't fall along party lines, as members were split on whether such restrictions would revive or decimate further declining fish stocks.

    A 1997 law required state regulators to adopt fisheries management plans to discourage overfishing, but proposal supporters questioned their effectiveness. Bill sponsor Rep. Larry Yarborough of Person County called the minimum-size requirement a common-sense way to ensure more fish mature and reproduce.

    But Rep. Keith Kidwell of Beaufort County said there's no proof the idea will work. Other opponents say the legislation - now heading to the Senate - is another step toward eliminating gill-net use by commercial fisherman.

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