Wilmington fishing industry has “bounced back,” despite fewer oysters on the market

Wilmington fishing industry has “bounced back,” despite fewer oysters on the market

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington fish markets are seeing an increase in most species of fish, a sign co-owner of Seaview Crab Company Sam Romano says that the local industry has finally made a comeback.

Romano works with hundreds of fishermen, sells to over 50 restaurants and is currently a member of the Marine Fisheries Commission. While he admits fishermen and fish markets struggled in the aftermath of both hurricanes, the industry has managed to bounce back in recent weeks.

“North Carolina fishermen are resilient, our communities are resilient, and we’re going to keep on coming back, and it’s a real asset that we have in North Carolina,” Romano said.

While the role that hurricanes play on fish in deep water is not fully known, Romano believes that these major storms had an impact.

“A lot of times I feel that natural disruptive disturbances like hurricanes tend to cause abundance and that’s what a lot of old timers will tell you,” Romano said.

Despite an ample season for fishing, local oysters may be short in supply at local fish markets. Demand for oysters has never been higher and although North Carolina fishermen are catching more shrimp and crabs than the annual average, fewer locally grown oysters are making it to fish markets.

Some in the fishing industry have theorized that murky waters left over from Hurricane Dorian have made many oysters unsafe to eat. Romano says that the reason is that fewer fishermen are currently working since both Hurricane Florence and Dorian, many of whom harvest oysters.

However, Romano does believe that local fishermen who are focusing on shrimp and crabs now will re-adjust their efforts on harvesting oysters come January and February.

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