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In contrast to livestock or agricultural crops, North Carolina’s coastal fish, shellfish, and crustaceans are considered public trust resources, meaning that they belong to all the people of the state. To ensure that these resources will continue to provide jobs and delicious seafood far into the future, a balance must be struck between harvesting by commercial and recreational fishermen and protections that allow these species to grow into adulthood and reproduce – no easy feat in a system as complicated as our estuaries and coasts.

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With the demolition of Raleigh’s Milburnie Dam in November 2017, the Neuse River now flows freely from Falls Lake to Pamlico Sound for the first time in over a hundred years. Safety concerns contributed to the dam’s removal, but the main reason for the removal of Milburnie was to enable fish such as American Shad, Striped Bass, and Atlantic Sturgeon to once again migrate from the ocean to their historic spawning habitat upstream of the dam.  

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