Coastal lawmaker wants to create fish farming industry in North Carolina waters

A proposal moving through the state Senate calls for leasing waters off the North Carolina coast so people can farm fish. Senate Bill 410 would allow people to lease from 100 to 1,500 acres in the state’s sounds and the Atlantic Ocean, where they could build underwater pens to raise various species of fish that they could later sell to supermarkets and restaurants. “We’re creating an industry here,” sponsor Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, told members of the Senate Finance Committee this week. “This is not something we’re doing in North Carolina. This will allow us to do fish farming and bring in some big bucks.” Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association, told lawmakers that fish farming is a $100 million business in his state, which has been leasing areas along its coast for 35 years. “The sector is growing worldwide,” Belle said, adding that fish farming “will help keep kids in those (coastal) communities working on the waterfront.” click here to read the story 13:23