Interviewee: Mac Currin

Role: NC Marine Fisheries Commission member

Date of Interview: June 27, 2016

Collection: 1997 North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act

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

Abstract: Recreational angler Mac Currin served as chair of the NC Marine Fisheries Commission during the period when many of the Fisheries Reform Act measures were implemented. He 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: Things had changed very drastically on our coast. It's well-reflected in the commercial landings history. Things peaked in about 1980, '81, '82. There were few regulations on the industry, and it was a heyday for the industry. And I think, up until that point, there was no need for activist recreational anglers because everybody that went to the beach or went to the coast, there were plenty of fish to be caught. Nobody moaned and groaned about it. You went around the gill nets in your boat and you went and you fished and you had a good day and caught some fish, and I think with that huge increase in landings from the commercial industry, anglers started seeing trips where they went, 'Whoa, what's going on?!' It was changing, quite a bit then.

I think what inspired the industry was after those years of very, very high landings, management was struggling to try to keep up with activity in the industry and started ratcheting down the industry both on a federal level and, not so much on the state level, but some. So the industry started getting involved. I think that was the impetus for the F.R.A., that there were some major changes in landings, affecting people's activities and livelihoods. We couldn't keep going the way we had been forever.

The C.H.P.P. [Coastal Habitat Protection Plan] was a very important aspect of it and I was on the [Marine Fisheries] Commission when that was finally passed and implemented. It's important from a number of perspectives. One was putting in place measures to recognize the important habitats and some measures to protect those habitats. We haven't gone as far as we should, I don't think, in that direction. One of the more important aspects, I think, was getting the three departments within the state that have to approve and accept the C.H.P.P. to sit down and talk to each other and have an opportunity to let the Environmental Management Commission know what's important to the Marine Fisheries Commission, and to Coastal Management as well because they all impact each other.