Skip to main content

Demand for N.C. Seafood and the Commercial Industry’s Economic Impact on the State

New research published in 2021 considers the impact of commercial fisheries on local economies and the state overall.


  • Consumer demand for N.C. seafood appears strong across the state.
  • North Carolina’s wild-caught seafood industry contributes nearly $300 million in value and 5,500 jobs to the state’s economy.
  • Consumers have a preference for seafood like shrimp and flounder from North Carolina and U.S. sources over foreign products, which may result in a price premium in certain markets.
  • The commercial industry has opportunities to increase its market share through targeted marketing, home-preparation guidance, new supply chains and prepared-seafood meals.


Consumer Demand for North Carolina Seafood

A survey of 1,600 North Carolina residents was conducted to determine the current consumption of seafood and the potential demand for North Carolina seafood.

NC Seafood Industry Economic Impact Analysis (EIA)

This effort documents the statewide economic impacts of North Carolina’s wild-capture seafood industry. Economic impacts are generated from commercial fisheries, fish dealers and processors, and seafood retailers and restaurants.

Research Team and Funding Source

Led by North Carolina Sea Grant with partners at four universities, the research was funded by the N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Grant Program. The fund is jointly overseen by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission’s Commercial Resource Fund Committee and the Funding Committee for the N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Fund.

The research team includes:

  • Jane Harrison, Coastal Economics Specialist, North Carolina Sea Grant
  • Barry Nash, Seafood Technology and Marketing Specialist, North Carolina Sea Grant
  • Eric Edwards, Agricultural and Resource Economics, NC State University
  • Chris Dumas, Department of Environmental Sciences, UNC-Wilmington
  • Sara Sutherland, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
  • John Whitehead, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.

Short link for this page: