Oysters

Efforts are underway to restore oyster populations, while mariculture looks at sustainable farming practices.
Baxter Miller / Bit & Grain

From clams to catfish, the North Carolina coast holds a variety of seafood, but at a crossroads is the oyster. The supply of oysters in the state has decreased since the industry peaked in 1902 after decades of aggressive harvesting.

Today, efforts are underway to restore wild oyster reefs while mariculture looks to provide a sustainable and abundant farming strategy.

Sandra Gutierrez is the author of 'Beans and Field Peas' and other cookbooks looking at Latin American and southern cuisine.
Matt Hulsman

From soft-shell crabs down east to baked beans cooked with a slab of pulled pork, crabs and beans are unquestionably essential to southern cuisine especially in North Carolina. 

Image of Eddie Willis, who is a fourth-generation fisherman. He is the founder of a community supported fishery called Core Sound Seafood.
John Day

The United States controls more ocean than any other country in the world, but more than 85 percent of the seafood Americans eat is imported.

Oysters On The Rise

Mar 10, 2015
North Carolina's oyster sales doubled between 2005 and 2012.
Miwok / Flickr Creative Commons

  

Oyster growers, researchers and enthusiasts gather in Raleigh today and tomorrow for the North Carolina Oyster Summit.

Food writer and oyster expert Rowan Jacobsen will give the event's keynote address on the rise of oysterculture in the southeastern U.S. and North Carolina. He wrote a book, A Geography of Oysters: the Connoisseur's Guide to Oyster Eating in North America (Bloomsbury USA/2007).

Officials in Currituck County are trying to restore oyster populations by getting consumers to recycle the shells. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has set up receiving areas at the Barco and Moyock Recycling Centers. The agency's Patricia Smith is asking residents and restaurants to take shells to one of those two designated sites: