Outer Banks Anglers Welcome Reef Plan

by Catherine Kozak, Coastal Review Online

A vessel is shown being sunk for an artificial reef. Photo: N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries

Co-published with Island Free Press

KITTY HAWK — Despite the Outer Banks’ disproportionately large contribution in fishing license fees, some say the region has been shorted its share of artificial fishing reefs, compared with the rest of the North Carolina coast.

Outer Banks Anglers Club president Alan Buchfuhrer said recently that Dare County anglers pay the second highest amount of recreational fishing license fees in the state, about $1 million annually, behind Wake County, and it sells twice as many licenses as the second-ranked coastal county, Carteret.

But the anglers club is looking forward to approval within months of a permit that will allow construction of a new recreational fishing reef off Oregon Inlet – a welcomed benefit of their license fees.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries says it maintains 42 ocean artificial reefs and 22 estuarine reefs, 15 of which serve as oyster sanctuaries. Map: N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries

“Basically, a lot of these projects are driven by an advocacy group,” Jason Peters, North Carolina Marine Fisheries enhancement program supervisor, explained Monday at an Anglers Club meeting in Kitty Hawk. “Historically, we haven’t had the advocacy up here.”

Nearly three years after the 115-member nonprofit group first formed the Oregon Inlet Artificial Reef Committee to apply for funds from the state Division of Marine Fisheries, it has a $887,000 grant in hand for a proposed two-year project to construct a reef south of the Oregon Inlet sea buoy.

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