Conservation Priorities

Sound Solutions Marine Resources Reform and Management

The North Carolina coast is home to roughly 2.5 million acres of estuarine waters, 1.5 million of which are within the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound. It’s here where hundreds of species of fish and other marine life grow and feed until old enough to venture to the ocean or migrate along the coast.

This network of sounds, wetlands and waterways is the largest lagoon on the East Coast and the 2nd largest estuary in the U.S. But we’re becoming more known for ineffective policy, mismanagement and unsustainable fishing practices. Increasing pressures, including habitat loss and water quality degradation, are threatening our fisheries.

According to the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, the long-term sustainability of many NC fisheries is in jeopardy. Some of our most important fish are already “depleted,” including Southern Flounder and Speckled Trout. Many more are headed that way.

For decades, reform has been thwarted because parties on opposite sides of the debate cannot agree. Potential policies are so opposed by one side or the other (often without any understanding of the proposal) legislators won’t touch them.

Sound Approach

NCWF embarked on a campaign to reform marine resource conservation and is committed to enhancing education, raising awareness and taking actions to drive true change.

With the Public Trust Doctrine and North American Model of Fish and Wildlife Conservation as our guides, we hold the belief that: North Carolina’s marine resources and wildlife are public trusts and, as such, must be protected and sustained for the use and benefit of all citizens, present and future.

NCWF has a balanced, SOUND approach to the challenges facing our sounds. We recognize the importance of both commercial and recreational fishing, but today’s practices are unsustainable. Without stewardship, NC’s marine resources will deplete until there’s nothing left for anyone.


Click here to view our petition

Sound Solutions Marine Resources Reform and Management
Net Results: The Dark Side of inshore shrimp trawling

Foundational Tenets of Sound Solutions

  1. Habitat: Strengthen protection of the waters and habitats that make up North Carolina’s inner coast, as well as those that flow into our sounds.
  2. Management: Impact change in the way NC’s marine fisheries and habitats are managed and regulated.
  3. Gear: Influence changes to destructive fishing gear and unsustainable methods.

Sound Goals

  • Safeguard against habitat loss, degradation of water quality and loss of resources.
  • Improve long-term health and balance of NC’s marine resources, habitat and fisheries.
  • Impact changes in policy and regulations related to our marine life and habitat.
  • Impact changes in the way our state’s fisheries are managed.
  • Reduce the annual bycatch loss of fish in NC’s inshore waters.

Sound Tactics

  • Present public policy recommendations to address key issues contributing to the damage and destruction of our marine resources and coastal habitats.
  • Help promote and support implementation of sound, science-based conservation and management.
  • Support responsible, sustainable fishing practices (recreational and commercial).
  • Educate the public about the consequences of current, unsustainable practices and methods.

Support the North Carolina Wildlife Federation

Gather your family and friends and plan your next outdoor adventure for one of North Carolina’s many unforgettable natural destinations. Help NCWF preserve wildlife and wild places for our children and future generations to come.