Which seafood is fresh, local and in season in North Carolina throughout the year?
North Carolina Sea Grant has the answers in its updated N.C. Seafood Availability Charts, now available online and in the Winter issue of Coastwatch magazine. The double-side posters divide the state’s coastal regions by north and south in order to help consumers better understand what is coming to the dock and when.
“The posters are great,” says John M. Aydlett, who leads the Got to Be NC Seafood campaign for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “They help to educate consumers on what’s typically available from North Carolina’s waters in order to make a decision on what species to purchase and prepare.”
Seasonal currents and water temperatures affect which species will occupy the northern and southern regions of the N.C. coast. The state’s harvest regulations, designed to promote sustainability, also can influence the availability of seafood.
“North Carolina Sea Grant has been providing seafood availability posters since the 1970s as part of our outreach to consumers,” says Barry Nash, seafood technology and marketing specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant. “People put them up in markets, restaurants, classrooms and on refrigerators along the coast and beyond.”
The posters use landing data from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to give consumers a quick overview of which months to expect each species to be available. Brandi Salmon from DMF, along with North Carolina Sea Grant fisheries specialists Sara Mirabilio and Scott Baker, teamed with Nash and Sea Grant communicators to update the charts.
“The Seafood Availability Charts are a great way to visually display the Division of Marine Fisheries landing data in a way that the public can easily understand and use when either determining what seafood is in season to purchase locally or perhaps when to plan a trip to the coast,” Salmon explains.
Patricia Smith, DMF communications director, says the agency regularly distributes the posters, which have widespread appeal.
“The Division of Marine Fisheries often hands out the Seafood Availability Charts at festivals and other outreach events, and the public loves them,” Smith explains. “And fish dealers give the charts out to their customers to help explain seasonal availability of the different species.”
The posters also complement Mariner’s Menu, North Carolina Sea Grant’s extensive and popular online collection of delicious recipes and tips for preparing seafood.
“Many people are cooking more meals at home,” says Katie Mosher, North Carolina Sea Grant’s communications director. “They are turning to favorite N.C. seafood, as well as trying options that may be new to them. Sea Grant’s posters, recipes and other information help them bring seafood from market to table for healthy, tasty meals.”
N.C. Seafood Availability Posters are available online now. The Winter 2020 issue of Coastwatch also provides them to readers as a pull-out, double-sided chart.
N.C. Seafood Availability Posters
lead photo: Honey-Glazed Shrimp, from Mariner’s Menu (photo by Vanda Lewis)