April 16, 2015
Local Catch Summit aims to
promote seafood, educate consumers
fourth annual Local Catch Summit drew more than 70 commercial
fishermen, seafood retailers and wholesalers, local food advocates, and
seafood consumers to the Ocracoke Community Center last month to
strengthen partnerships that support and promote NC seafood.
summit took place in the location where Outer Banks Catch, Ocracoke
Fresh, Carteret Catch, and Brunswick Catch leaders in 2011 first
explored the idea of partnering under the NC Catch banner to heighten
seafood consumer education and awareness.
“It was exciting and
inspirational to see so many folks gathered to talk about the seafood
industry in North Carolina,” Jess Hawkins, NC Catch board member and
retired fisheries biologist, said. “Especially encouraging was
learning about the many ways the Department of Agriculture helps people
learn about North Carolina seafood. Studies continually
demonstrate that consumers prefer local seafood.”
from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods Company, Locals Seafood, and N.C.
Sea Grant talked about promotional programs and distribution
opportunities for local seafood.
“The presentations and
one-on-one discussions were informative and valuable as our industry
adapts to economic, social and environmental change,” seafood
wholesaler Jeff Aiken, owner of Jeffrey’s Seafood in Hatteras, said.
included members of Outer Banks Catch, Ocracoke Fresh, Carteret Catch,
Brunswick Catch, N.C. Fisheries Association, N.C. Watermen United,
Outer Banks Seafood Festival, N.C. Seafood Festival, N.C. Oyster
Growers Association, Carteret County Economic Development Council, N.C.
Division of Marine Fisheries, as well as seafood business owners.
commercial fishing industry needs consumer groups to help maintain
access to local seafood and to build economic diversity that supports
tourism and generates local and state tax revenues,” commercial
fisherman Hardy Plyler of Ocracoke told the audience.
conjunction with the summit, the state Department of Agriculture and
Pate Dawson-Southern Foods representatives visited fish houses and
retail markets in Columbia, Wanchese, Hatteras, Ocracoke, Cedar Island,
Sea Level, Harkers Island, and New Bern.
“This trip has been a
great start in meeting many new friends who can help meet the growing
demand for local seafood in our state,” explained G. W. Stanley,
domestic marketing supervisor with the state Department of Agriculture
and Consumer Services.
The Ocracoke Working Watermen’s
Association, N.C. Farm Bureau, Dare to Hyde Adventures, N.C. Sea Grant,
Hyde County, Tideland Electric Membership Corporation, N.C. Department
of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Albemarle-Pamlico National
Estuary Partnership, N.C. Growing Together Project at the Center for
Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina State University,
Saltwater Connections, The Resourceful Communities Program at The
Conservation Fund, Julian Price Family Foundation, and Core Sound
Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center sponsored the event.
Catch believes that by promoting the rich culture, variety of
resources, health benefits and incredible tastes from our shores, we
can help maintain thriving coastal fishing communities and build a
stronger appreciation of North Carolina’s local seafood for generations
to come. The non-profit represents local Catch groups that connect
consumers and businesses with year-round access to high-quality
seafood. For more information, visit http://www.nccatch.org.