Native to North Carolina, Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) are critical to the ecological balance of the state’s waters. Populations of this once abundant ecologic and economic treasure have declined significantly, though some regions are slowly rebounding thanks to collaborative protection and restoration efforts. North Carolina Sea Grant is working to improve our understanding of the oyster’s past, present and future by providing the public and decision makers with a visual story map; resources, including stories from the field, legislative reports, and research reports; and contacts for further information.


Stories from the Field

Hunting Oysters, March 2016
Jane Harrison, North Carolina Sea Grant coastal economics specialist, visits Hyde County to talk oysters and careers.

The Multitalented Oyster, Coastwatch, Autumn 2012
From small-scale oyster gardens or under-dock cages to larger natural or man-made reefs, the industrious oyster is getting a lot of attention for its many environmental and economic benefits.

Legislative Reports

Recommendations for Implementation of the Senator Jean Preston Oyster Sanctuary Network 10-Year Plan, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Marine Fisheries, March 2016

Recommendations for Shellfish Aquaculture, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Marine Fisheries, March 2016

Report on Core Sound Shellfish Aquaculture LeasingN.C. Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Marine Fisheries, April 2016


Overview of North Carolina Sea Grant Oyster Initiatives and Sponsored Research, August 2016

A Comparative Case Study of Virginia and North Carolina’s Oyster Aquaculture Development, North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, September 2013

Coastal Restoration and Community Economic Development in North Carolina, RTI International for NC Coastal Federation, January 2015

Economic Analysis of the Costs and Benefits of Restoration and Enhancement of Shellfish Habitat and Oyster Propagation in North Carolina, RTI International for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, April 2016

North Carolina’s Shellfish Industry: Site Conditions and Economic Impacts. A statewide survey of shellfish leaseholders. North Carolina Sea Grant, 2012

Oyster Restoration and Protection Plan for North Carolina: A Blueprint for Action 2015-2020, NC Coastal Federation