Friday, July 19, 2024

In Pictures and Words: Bringing back North Carolina oysters after Hurricane Florence

A Stump Sound oyster farm represents a growing push for aquaculture in the state. Plus, scientists discuss Hurricane Florence's devastating effect on North Carolina's oyster industry.

Last winter, Mike Slaton, right, and Evan Gadow of Three Little Spats Oyster Company take near-ready oysters to a line of floating cages, where the oysters finish fully developing and are cleaned by passing currents. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Last winter Mike Slaton, right, and Evan Gadow of Three Little Spats Oyster Company take near-harvestable oysters to a line of floating cages, where the oysters finish fully developing and are cleansed by passing currents. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

STUMP SOUND — Over the past three to four decades many of the areas that were open to wild oyster harvests have been closed due to water quality concerns, often near the headwaters of creeks and rivers hit by pollutants from farms and industrial developments.

But oyster farms along the North Carolina coast are on the rise, and even after the devastating impact of Hurricane Florence on the shellfish industry, aquaculture represents the state’s hope in catching up with states like Virginia.

READ FULL STORY: A Stump Sound oyster farm represents a growing push for aquaculture in the state

Last week, Port City Daily spent the day with two oyster farmers from Three Little Spats Oyster Company, who discussed the role of aquaculture in an industry that has seen wild oyster populations drop over the years, and their hope for Stump Sound’s resurgence as one of the state’s best regions for oysters and commercial fishing.

We also talked with a biologist at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and an ecologist at the Center for Marine Science on Masonboro Sound, who talked about Hurricane Florence’s devastating affects on the oyster industry, and trends pointing to an increase in oyster farming along the state’s coast.

Read the full story and see the photos here:

Bringing back North Carolina oysters

Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@localvoicemedia.com

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