Our area is known for having great local oysters. You can find them along the banks of most of the waterways and creeks of the lower Cape Fear.
Oysters, along with clams, are Bivalves. They are filter feeders, meaning they constantly circulate water in and out of their bodies to strain out microscopic food.
Because they attach themselves to the bottom or existing rock, oysters do not move around during their life span. Oysters can be found in most shallow coastal areas. They average a life span of 6 years but can live as long as 20 years.
The best time of the year to harvest and eat oysters is October-March. An old rule of thumb is if a month of the year that has an “r” in it that is good time of year to eat oysters.
To collect oysters find a bank with oysters look for “standing” formations. Using a hammer or other tool, knock the base of the formation to break it free. Store them in a cold environment until you wish to eat them. They should be eaten in 2-5 days. A note of caution; oyster shells are very sharp. Wear very sturdy, protective footwear when walking in or around oysters.
Remember: Oysters must be at least 3” long to keep, you may only keep one bushel per person and you can not have more than 200 total oysters in your boat regardless of the number of people onboard.