Letter from the Executive Director

Fall 2022: Celebrating Seafood and More

This time of year is made for venturing outdoors to enjoy the nicer weather and to take advantage of the opportunities our coast provides — fishing, hiking, birding, boating, lighthouse exploring, and eating, among many other great pursuits — once the temperatures dip below hot-hot-hot.

For example, you can learn all about North Carolina’s great seafood, and eat it, at the NC Seafood Festival in Morehead City from Friday, September 30, to Sunday, October 2 — starting with a popular middleschool event that North Carolina Sea Grant is supporting.

image: oyster spread on the Fall 2022 Coastwatch cover.On Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., “NC Seafood SMART!” will provide a free field trip on the Morehead City waterfront. Middle schoolers can participate in local seafood-related exhibits from area marine science labs and the fishing community about new research, environmental awareness, and technology. In past years, students have enjoyed boarding a shrimp boat and exploring the gear, among other adventures.

North Carolina Sea Grant also will be exhibiting for Fisherman’s Village, Carteret Catch’s annual event during the festival. On Saturday, October 1, on the lower level of Jack’s Waterfront Bar at 513 Evan’s Street, visitors will find free seafood availability charts, seafood quality charts, Mariner’s Menu recipe cards, and much more.

Also, look for the return of StriperHub to the Seafood Festival Chef’s Tent, which is always hopping on Saturday and Sunday. StriperHub is a Sea Grant-supported network that helps fuel the industry-wide cultivation of striped bass. Coastwatch covered StriperHub’s work in the Spring 2021 issue.

You’ll also find our team at the Outer Banks Seafood Festival in Nags Head on October 15. The Nags Head festivities will honor and celebrate our coastal seafood heritage and community — and feature live bands and entertainment all day.

That same week, our state will be “shellebrating” a beloved shellfish. NC Oyster Week runs October 10 to 16. In fact, North Carolina Sea Grant — with the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, NC Oyster Trail, and the NC Coastal Federation — offers an entire month of oyster facts, resources, and programming during October. Check your favorite social media for #NCOysterMonth.

If you’re interested in learning more about our state’s shellfish farming, and eating oysters while you learn, you can do so year-round and at your own pace on the NC Oyster Trail. To get started on the journey, enjoy this issue’s “Savoring the NC Oyster Trail.”

Speaking of seafood, researchers from UNC Wilmington are expanding opportunities for cultivating tasty black sea bass, and our story about it in this issue includes a great recipe. There are many more recipes to explore, too, as you bring the taste of our coast to your own kitchen. Each issue of Coastwatch features samples from Mariner’s Menu, our popular seafood guide — which includes tips about how to make seafood an everyday, healthy meal.

This fall also marks the return of the North Carolina Coastal Conference, and registration is now open. Please join us November 7 and 8, online or in person at NC State in Raleigh, for a wide array of presentations and panel discussions highlighting coastal science and community perspectives. There even will be an option to enjoy local, farm-raised striped bass for lunch. Find more info here.

Enjoy your outdoor adventures this fall — and if you have suggestions for the Coastal Conference, or any other input, please email me at snwhite3@ncsu.edu.

Susan White, Executive Director, North Carolina Sea Grant

from the Fall 2022 issue of Coastwatch magazine