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Carteret County Commercial Fishing After Hurricane Florence? What Are The Impacts On Oysters, Flounder, Shrimp, And Other Shellfish?

What are the Carteret County commercial fishing Hurricane Florence impacts on local fisheries, leases, oysters, shrimp, and other shellfish? In this article, we are going to ask a lot of questions and let others with specific ties to the local industry answer them. Please use the comment form below to make contributions to this article. Also, please consider inviting anyone local to the county that has information to the questions we ask.

Readers are encouraged to share on Facebook and Twitter so that others in our communities can learn more about the dramatic challenges the commercial fishing industry faces after Florence. Additionally, we hope you will use the discussion for below to engage us and other readers in conversation about this topic.

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Update November 2018

Update 10/15/2018 The effects of Florence are now realized. Pollution from flooding in cities that eventually ended up in the Cape Fear and Neuse River, then in Pamlico Sound, and finally in the Atlantic Ocean made many seafood variants unsafe to eat according to Marine Fisheries. Commercial fishermen in Carteret County and others now have to contend with harvesting of clams, mussels, and oysters being forbidden by the state agency. This undoubtedly will hurt the economics of the seafood industry in the county.

What species of fish are mostly sought after by commercial fishermen during the time of year Hurricane Florence impacted areas in the county and specifically down east? Will these impacts carry over in to next year?

How did freshwater intrusion of flood waters affect saltwater species of oysters, flounder, shrimp, and other shellfish?

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Due to this storm, did fish move out of the estuaries to escape freshwater and in to the open ocean making fishing more costly?

How many days or weeks did Carteret County fishermen lose on the water due to the storm? How many years will it take it rebound from this storm and are there any specific things that need to happen to get back to normal faster?

Explain to our readers what a “fishing lease” is and how this storm affected them?

What opportunities are there for state and federal money to lessen the impact of the hurricane on local fishermen as it relates to damage to boats, fishing gear, and stores where you sell your daily catch? Will state and federal money also cover losses to what you could have caught and sold during the missed days on the water?

We know that a lot of commercial fishermen rely on oysters in the winter, what was the oyster mortality rate due to this storm?

How is the N.C. Fisheries Association working with the N.C. General Assembly to get extra relief and resources needed to overcome many of the problems the hurricane caused the industry?

What can local residents due to help?

Governor Roy Copper Asks U.S. Department of Commerce To Help NC Fisheries

In November of 2018, Governor Roy Cooper asked Secretary Wilbur Ross for more funds and insurance help to help NC commercial fishermen who were affected by Hurricane Florence.

As we stated above, the NC Legislature already allocated $12 million towards fisheries, but the Governor is asking for the federal government to give more to help fishermen and local shellfish harvesters.

Data shows that in 2017, commercial fishing brought in $96 million dollars in revenue to the State of North Carolina while supporting hundreds of jobs and local economies.

Governor Cooper went on to say that insurance premiums for commercial fishermen are a significant burden for most, especially after the Hurricane took their livelihoods for many weeks, damaged boats, and equipment used in their work.

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Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

5 thoughts on “Carteret County Commercial Fishing After Hurricane Florence? What Are The Impacts On Oysters, Flounder, Shrimp, And Other Shellfish?

  • August 14, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    It is amazing how much this hurricane affected the coastline and shorelines on inner waterways where oysters and shellfish grow, so I can’t even imagine how much this industry was affected. I am glad this website is paying attention to it.

  • August 3, 2019 at 1:12 am

    I think the new business partnership between Dr. Niels Lindquist (Scientist at UNC Institute of Marine Science) and David Cessna (Commercial fisherman in the county) where they are developing a new method to bolster and restore oyster populations in the county is worth writing about and doing your homework on.

    Both are in partnership and creating a new biodegradable material to grow oysters and to help restore numbers in our dramatically changing coastal environment and over fishing.

    In 2009, Dr. Lindquist received a NC Sea Grant to focus on the local oyster crisis. He then recruited Mr. Cessna and both are now working on this issue and hopefully will collaborate on new growing methods.

    Their new biodegradable and eco-friendly alternative can grow oysters in about half the time as other alternative hardscapes.

    Both are seeking a patent on this new approach and I hope you will follow this company.

  • January 5, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    I know the tuna fishing season has gotten off to a very slow start. Not sure if it’s related to the storm or not.

  • October 9, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    So much to think about after this storm I didn’t even think about the fishing industry till I read this article. Is it really possible for flood waters to mix with saltwater and disrupt habitats for things like oysters and shrimp? I would think it would take a lot more than just one flood.

    • October 9, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      I am not a commercial fisherman or involved in the industry, but most areas down east got like 8 feet of water and I would think that would be more than enough to mess up the ecosystem of shellfish, crabs, and shrimp. No doubt we will see just how hard they were hit by the hurricane next season when we see what the prices of seafood is. But, I don’t mind paying a lot higher prices to keep those families in Harkers Island and other areas down east going.

      If you know anyone in the industry send them our way so they can answer the questions we put out.


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