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Fish Farming Bill Introduced in Senate

RALEIGH — A bill in the state Senate proposes leasing waters off of North Carolina’s coast for fish farming, WRAL-TV reported.

Senate Bill 410 is sponsored primarily by Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, Sen. Norman Sanderson, R-Carteret, and Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph.

The proposal would allow individuals to lease 100 to 1,500 acres in sounds and the Atlantic ocean for underwater pens to raise fish in. The fish would then be sold to market.

“We’re creating an industry here,” Cook told members of the Senate Finance Committee this week, as reported by WRAL. “This is not something we’re doing in North Carolina. This will allow us to do fish farming and bring in some big bucks.”

Leases would last 10 years at $210 per acre. The state could cancel leases for lack of payment among other reasons. People found stealing from the aquaculture sites could be fined up to $5,000.

The bill is on its way to the Senate Rules Committee.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.