North Carolina Commercial Fishermen Land Less Seafood in 2020 | North Carolina News

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) – Commercial fishermen sold nearly 20% less fish and shellfish to North Carolina seafood merchants in 2020, a decline from the previous year which is attributed to the state stay-at-home order caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a state agency said on Friday.

A press release from the NC Marine Fisheries Division says commercial fishermen sold 42.9 million pounds of fish and shellfish last year, down 19% from 2019 and down from about 23% compared to the average for the previous five years.

The drop was linked to a 41.3% decrease in hard blue crab landings from 2019, which could be in part due to the impacts of COVID-19. The division said it heard several fishermen say they were having difficulty moving blue crabs early in the state’s stay-at-home order when many restaurants were closed.

Still, hard blue crabs remained the state’s main commercial seafood in terms of pounds landed, while shrimp brought in the most money for fishermen on the docks.

Recreational fishermen landed 53.5 million fish weighing 24.9 million pounds in the state’s coastal and estuarine waters in 2020, according to the press release. The total harvest was about 4.6% higher than in 2019 and 4% above the previous five-year average.

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