Interviewee: Pam Davis Morris

Role: Carteret County Fishermen's Association member

Date of Interview: June 7, 2016

Collection: 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Pam Davis Morris advocated for policy supported by the Carteret County Fishermen's Association, a commercial fishing group, during the 1990s when the Fisheries Reform Act was crafted. She was interviewed about the development and passage of the act, and about the successes and shortcomings of the act as a framework for managing coastal fisheries resources.

Transcript: I started going to these meetings, and I reported back to Carteret County Fishermen's Association, and we had probably twenty people that would come every single week. We met every single week until it passed, and we would review the bill, see what had changed.

The underlying kernel of the Fisheries Reform Act is licensing is not on the boat anymore, it's on the individual. That was a huge change; that is the core of the Fisheries Reform Act, that kernel that it's all built around.

The thing that we had the greatest impact on was licensing. Assignability, transferability, and the cost of the license. And also the fact that you could not cap the license at a hard number because you had to have a way in (for new entrants).

I think, in the beginning, (the Fisheries Reform Act) was okay. The license change didn't weed anybody out, people paid the extra money or they let their extra licenses go; that's why there're so many in the pool now, that was the result of license fees. Some people have gotten out of it, some people hold on to their license. Up until this new Governor came into office, it had stayed basically the same, but it was a process that had been weakening through changes in directorship. In the beginning, the process worked good with all the advisory committees, but the emphasis on the committees went down and after the new director came on board, emphasis on the committees went down even further.