Jun 28, 2021

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Branch Launches Water Quality Program

Water Quality for Fisheries is a collaboration between CCRW and commercial and recreational fishermen.

commercial water

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch (CCRW) announced that it has launched a new program, Water Quality for Fisheries, which is a collaboration between CCRW and Carteret county-area commercial and recreational fishermen to build stakeholder and public support for improving North Carolina’s water quality.

“Together, we’re identifying recommended future actions to improve water quality through the voices of the coastal fishing community,” said CCRW Executive Director and interim waterkeeper Lisa Rider to the News-Times.

The program was formed based on the results of a March 4, 2021 survey CCRW conducted in collaboration with East Carolina University. Five priority water quality concerns were identified: agriculture and factory farm runoff, storm water runoff, plastic pollution, industrial pollution and municipal wastewater and septic tanks.

According to the News-Times, storm water runoff is the number one source of nonpoint water pollution on the state’s coast. 

The goals of the group are as follows:

  • Collaborate and communicate with fisheries representatives to address concerns about how water quality affects fisheries;
  • Learn what’s currently being done in North Carolina to address water quality issues affecting fisheries;
  • Make recommendations on what more needs to be done to improve water quality for fisheries;
  • And propose next steps to address gaps in what’s not being done for water quality issues.

The group held its first meeting June 15 and will hold its next meeting July 13, reported the News-Times. 

“The working group is made up of recreational and commercial fishers,” said Hooper Family Seafood owner and operator Mark Hooper, reported the News-Times. “Part of the idea is that we’re on the water more than most folks and would see poor water quality events or have an impression that water quality is affecting our various fisheries.”

CCRW is gathering more information on existing policies, programs and research into the five primary concerns. An assessment is underway as of May and will be finalized and published in the fall, according to the News-Times.

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