Gas prices take toll on commercial fishing industry - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Gas prices take toll on commercial fishing industry

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Steep gas prices, along with new, strict federal regulations for commercial fishermen, have some of them calling it quits. Steep gas prices, along with new, strict federal regulations for commercial fishermen, have some of them calling it quits.

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Many North Carolina residents have been dealing with pains at the pump lately thanks to rising gas prices, but it's not just drivers on the road dealing with the problem.

Commercial and recreational fishermen rely on hitting the open waters everyday to provide fresh local catches for restaurants, especially during the tourism months.

The steep gas prices, along with new, strict federal regulations for commercial fishermen, have some of them calling it quits.

When every trip is an expensive one, and there are regulations as to how much fish one can catch, some say it's best to find a new line of work.

The new regulations, going into effect this summer, put pound restrictions per trip on black sea bass.

"It's costing around $300 to $400 to make these trips just in fuel alone," said commercial fisherman Tony Morris.

Some gas companies realize their business is a painful middle man.

"The increase we've had over the last year specifically has got to be just about devastating to that industry," said Mitch Rose of Rose Fuels.

Rose has recently seen fishing businesses go under, adding that several customers that he services are questioning getting back into it this year.

Randy McKinley, a commercial fisherman, says to keep his product sales alive, he's found ways to stretch each tank fill-up.

"Use to be you could run out there one day and catch fish," said McKinley. "Now, you've got to almost stay two or three days to help spread that fuel expense."

However, fuel business folks like Rose say things should be getting better, because at nearly $4 a gallon, things might fly off the handle soon.

"The backlash from the price point of four is going to make everybody higher up the chain probably reconsider what they're pricing," said Rose.

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