Offshore drilling suspended on NC coast, fishing industry has mixed reactions

Oceana estimates 46,000 jobs could be lost along the Virginia coast if there was an offshore...
Oceana estimates 46,000 jobs could be lost along the Virginia coast if there was an offshore drilling accident(Source: file photo)
Updated: Apr. 26, 2019 at 3:02 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Trump administration has put a suspension on plans to expand offshore drilling off the North Carolina coast, leading to mixed reactions from the state fishing industry.

Randy Robinson, a representative of Brunswick County on the N.C. Fisheries Association Board of Directors, thinks that the presence of offshore drilling “isn’t necessarily a bad idea.“ He considers that offshore drilling could play a role in increasing the net amount of jobs for North Carolinians.

Additionally, Robinson blames the N.C. Wildlife Federation for causing more damage than offshore drilling would do. He explains that the organization’s push to reduce trawls and limit the length of nets for fishing shrimp has negatively affected commercial fishing across the state’s coast.

Ernie Foster, a charter fisherman in Hatteras Village, has mixed feelings about what role offshore drilling could play in affecting his job. As someone that uses petroleum products, he says, “it’s hard to say no to any offshore drilling.”

However, Foster points to disastrous events that have transpired in the past, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and expresses concern for the catastrophic effects that a potential disaster could have on the NC coast.

Foster has greater concern for the use of seismic air gun testing and the damage that it can have on sea life. Seismic testing uses powerful sound waves that can disrupt feeding and breeding among fish in the ocean.

Karen Amspacker is board member of NC Catch and firmly disagrees with offshore drilling. Amspacker feels that offshore drilling could lead to drastic effects on the environment, culture, community, and business on North Carolina’s coast.

NC Catch is a nonprofit organization that works with seafood promotion initiatives that seek to “help educate consumers on the culinary and nutritional rewards of choosing local seafood, as well as the economic, cultural, and ecological benefits for local communities and for the state.”

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