JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Commercial fishermen want to raise the cost of their licenses so that North Carolina can fund enough turtle-protecting observers to let boat captains keep their nets in the water.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reports the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission endorsed the proposal last week, joining in support with state marine fisheries regulators and the state environment agency.

The idea is to ask the General Assembly to raise fees for several commercial fishing licenses and put the money raised into a separate fund. That would pay for observers who make sure turtles aren't being captured in fishing nets.

The Pamlico Sound and other North Carolina waters were closed to large-mesh gill nets for more than a month last summer because several turtles became entangled in the nets.