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Ocracoke Seafood Company was started by dedicated watermen with a desire to provide for their community and carry on the traditions of generations of commercial fishing on Ocracoke Island. Our locally caught and harvested seafood is brought in by watermen who have generational connections and respect for the waters of Coastal North Carolina.

Sustainability starts at the source

Ocracoke Seafood Company's mission is to support local fisherman. All our seafood is caught locally by watermen who call Ocracoke home. We believe sustainability starts at our shores. Our watermen respect the responsibility to protect and conserve our local fisheries. We proudly support the North Carolina Commercial Fishing industry, one of the most sustainable and regulated fisheries in the country, and understand that the long term viability of this fishery is directly tied to the long term economic success of our historic fishing village.

Local fisherman entering pound net to harvest fish
The USA is the second highest consumer of seafood in the world, yet 70-85% of the seafood we consume is imported and only 1-2% is inspected.

Consider the source of your seafood

An excerpt from an article on written by Jess Hawkins.

The current number of North Carolina commercial fishermen able to sell seafood is fewer than 2,500 and has been steadily declining the last 15 years. Commercial landings by North Carolina fishermen are at the lowest level since the 1950s. Yet recreational landings and recreational fishing trips have increased since the 1990s. There are an estimated 1.5 million people fishing recreationally in our coastal area. North Carolina is one of the top states in the USA in terms of number of recreational fishing trips and number of fish caught.

These attempts to further limit access to seafood for consumers from wild harvest comes even when the USA has one of the strongest fish conservation policies in the world and North Carolina has one of the most comprehensive fisheries management programs in the USA. Our state is one of the few states that prohibits overfishing by law and is required to develop/implement fisheries management plans based on science. Fisheries in the USA and North Carolina have to be sustainably managed by law. Commercial fishing is one of the most regulated businesses in the USA.

These attempts come when the USA is the second highest consumer of seafood in the world, yet 70-85% of the seafood we consume is imported and only 1-2% is inspected. Our country’s citizens are eating more seafood each year. Research increasingly shows that seafood is a nutritious source of protein. Experts recognize that sustainable seafood production helps the USA address food security issues. In our state one in six children is experiencing malnutrition or hunger. Tourism experts note that when folks visit our coastal areas, they expect to receive local seafood when they visit restaurants.

North Carolina is a unique state, with its vast coastal waters, diverse fisheries, variety of fish species, and a long history of commercial fishing. Fishing and farming have been cornerstones of our past since 1700s. Our commercial fishing industry is mostly composed of small family businesses. The 2,500 or so commercial fishermen help provide food to the 10.5 million North Carolina residents and the millions others in our country who enjoy seafood. Many folks do not have access to our coastal waters or choose to have someone else provide these wonderful food resources to them.

So, I hope seafood consumers better realize that North Carolina fishermen and their associated businesses need our help. Stay alert, ask for local seafood whenever possible, and get informed/involved. Consumers can learn more from seafood consumer education groups such as NC Catch and Carteret Catch or the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Seafood Marketing.

Ocracoke Seafood Company has been proudly supporting local watermen since 2006. All profits go back into the business or are used for mission-related expenses, as decided by Ocracoke's Working Watermen.