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Licensing

Anyone 16 years or older must possess a license to fish in NC. Exceptions to this rule are tidal waters, which require no license, fishing with natural bait in one's home county, and fishing on the fourth of July. But what a bargain. For $15.00*, you can fish all you want all year long. But if you don't have a license, it will cost you. That's $25.00* plus court costs for residents or $50.00* plus court costs for visitors. Court costs average about $90.00.

*2002 prices

Limits

In addition to licensing, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission sets creel limits and closes some fisheries for conservation purposes. For coastal and ocean fisheries regulations, see NC Marine Fisheries.

Consumption Advisories

Unfortunately, our waterways may not be as clean as they look. Dioxins from paper mills and mercury from coal burning industries continue to harm our rivers. The EPA, under the Bush administration, is considering relaxing some of it's rules for mercury emissions. Meanwhile, mercury has been linked to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and heart diseases. (Raleigh News & Observer, 2/04) Mercury builds up in a system. That system can be a river, a fish or a human. The body will store mercury in fatty tissue indefinitely. So, please pay attention to posted consumption advisories, especially if you are a woman. We don't need to pass this on to our children. Until the EPA does a better job at protecting the consumer, we will all have to protect ourselves. For current consumption advisories, visit the NC Division of Public Health site.

Dioxin Warnings

Catfish and carp from several areas contain dioxins and should be avoided by anyone who might become pregnant. If you are a woman, that means you. Children under 15 should also avoid eating these fish. Everybody else, that means men and older women, should limit servings to once a month. These areas are parts of Albemarle Sound, part of the Roanoke River, Welch Creek, and Walters Lake/Waterville Reservoir.

Mercury Warnings

Bowfin, largemouth bass and jackfish (chain pickerel) in eastern NC contain unsafe levels of mercury and should be avoided by the group mentioned above. Those of you in the other category should keep your servings of these fish down to once a week. Perhaps on Fridays.

Marine species to avoid are shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel, which carry the same mercury warning as bowfin, largemouth bass and jackfish.