RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2019) —At its business meeting today, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission approved proposed boundaries for the delineation of inland and coastal fishing waters as part of an ongoing periodic review of existing rules. Agency staff were also directed to conduct a thorough review of the potential impacts to understand the potential stakeholder, environmental and economic impacts of these changes. This review will include multiple public input forums that will help inform future rulemaking decisions.
Agency staff employed an objective, science-based approach using salinity values, measured levels of salt in the water, to determine the transition between coastal and inland fishing waters. Salinity data were used to map long-term averages during low and high salinity seasons. Previous research, conducted on the Neuse River in North Carolina, has shown that freshwater fish were most abundant at a salinity of 2.6 parts per thousand (ppt) or less. Based on this, a threshold of 2.6 ppt was used to define the transition zones, within which specific boundaries were drawn.
Coastal fishing waters are defined as the Atlantic Ocean; the various coastal sounds; and estuarine waters up to the dividing line between coastal fishing waters and inland fishing waters. Inland fishing waters are defined as all inland waters except private ponds; and all waters connecting with or tributary to coastal sounds or the ocean extending inland or upstream from the dividing line between coastal fishing waters and inland fishing waters or North Carolina's boundary with another state.
To view the proposed boundaries for the Albemarle Sound, Tar-Pamlico River, Neuse River and Cape Fear River, visit to review Exhibit E from the agenda meeting package.