Susan White, Executive Director, North Carolina Sea Grant. Photo courtesy Roger Winstead.

Susan White, Executive Director, North Carolina Sea Grant. Photo Roger Winstead.

Season’s Greetings!

It’s always rewarding to look back on a year’s worth of research, education and engagement. We are able to identify notable accomplishments that directly impact our coast and were made possible through our strong relationships with numerous partners. Equally exciting, in my opinion, is the anticipation of a productive year to come!

Our federal partner, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reviewed our state’s program in September. The preliminary report from the panel members was very positive. I am happy to report that they recommend that the director of the National Sea Grant Office recertify the North Carolina Sea Grant College Program. Criteria met during this review focused on management activities and stakeholder engagement.

The panel identified no areas that need improvement, but provided one suggestion for our consideration — that we work with our university and advisory board partners to seek restoration of state funds that have declined in the past few years, for initiatives such as the N.C. Fishery Resource Grant and the N.C. Blue Crab and Shellfish Research programs, that directly benefit coastal communities.

The review panel’s positive list of findings highlighted our program’s strengths including: strong management and integrated team approach, excellent and respected extension engagement, effective partnerships, excellence in recruiting talent, and the excellence and integration of our fellowships across the program.

They cited our emphasis on and investment in fellowships, resulting in a strong depth and breadth of coverage, as a “best management practice” that should be shared nationwide for other Sea Grant programs to consider implementing. You’ll see a number of our fellows highlighted in this issue. They are among the current and future leaders we proudly support.

I want to specifically thank our partners from academia, local and state government, and industry from across the state and region that joined in the panel discussions and student poster sessions that conveyed the programs impacts and accomplishments so clearly. Find more information about this review at

Over the past year, North Carolina Sea Grant has worked diligently to support a growing, active Advisory Board that continues to provide excellent and broad perspectives and opportunities for increasing our program’s delivery of products and services to the state’s coast. I appreciated the feedback we received from numerous partners and our team regarding recommendations of individuals for board consideration. I am pleased to announce the following incoming board members: Anne Cary Simpson, nonprofit consultant; Laura Taylor, faculty member at North Carolina State University; Phil Prete, senior planner for the City of Wilmington; Linda Rimer, with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Randy Ramsey, president of Jarrett Bay Boatworks. You can find more information about our board at under About Us. I am excited to begin a new year with our board and already appreciate their investment in our program’s future.

In anticipation of a season of giving — and, frankly, eating — you’ll find opportunities in this issue, and online, to gift friends and family members with subscriptions for this magazine. Also consider giving gifts of additional Sea Grant publications including the Mariner’s Menu resource book, to spread the word on research investments and eating opportunities to enjoy throughout the year.

Our updated seafood availability chart in the center of this issue provides guidance for seasonal options for the northern and southern fisheries in our state. This poster, along with other seafood-related products, also can be downloaded at Click on Consumer Awareness. There’s a gift that keeps on giving.

We at North Carolina Sea Grant wish you all the best in the new year — and raise an oyster (or two) with you in a toast to the North Carolina coast!

This article was published in the Holiday 2014 issue of Coastwatch.

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