Local Seafood – Always In Season!
Did you know that 80% of all seafood served in restaurants across America is imported? And out of that, only 2% of it is FDA inspected. It’s often taken for granted that the seafood you order in Outer Banks restaurants is locally sourced, but unfortunately sometimes that just isn’t the case.
According to Outer Banks Catch, this region is largest in terms of revenue and the importance of commercial fishing in the whole state of North Carolina. It’s important that consumers, wholesalers, and commercial fishermen work together to make sure that only fresh, healthy, sustainably harvested seafood makes it to plates and grocery store cases across the country.
Why is this important? Outside of the obvious reason – healthy food! – thousands of North Carolina families depend on commercial fishing to make a living. The state has a rich maritime heritage that is fast becoming history, and families who have fished for generations are having to find other ways to support themselves.
No matter which stance a consumer has on the controversial issues of farm-raised seafood or human rights issues connected to foreign seafood, the combined purchasing power of seafood buyers can speak loudly. Cheap, imported seafood, the high price of fuel, and more regulations make it increasingly difficult to make a living as a fisherman in North Carolina.
There are things that consumers can do to help keep the fishing industry in North Carolina thriving. Outer Banks Catch has a handy list of partnering restaurants and retail outlets. Anyone can become a member of Outer Banks Catch – you’ll even get a cool tote bag to show your support!
One of the most impactful things that consumers can do is make sure they’re only eating seafood that’s in season. This not only ensures that what they’re eating is local, but it also helps protect ecosystems by allowing for spawning and healthy growth cycles.
Outer Banks Catch, NC Sea Grant, and NC Division of Marine Fisheries have made it really easy to keep track of what’s in season all year round. Visiting the Outer Banks in July? Hard-shell blue crabs, mahi-mahi, snapper, and grouper might be the catch of the day. If you’re here in the off-season, you might see oysters, croaker, or striped bass on menus. Participating restaurants are listed on the Outer Banks Catch website and you can always ask your server what’s local and in season.
This weekend you can celebrate the rich coastal seafood history of this region at the Outer Banks Seafood Festival. The festival isn’t just about food! There will be artisan vendors, live music, and educational programs too. Learn about the Outer Banks seafood industry and culture from the people who live it every day! Fun for the whole family and only $3 for admission (kids under 12 are FREE!). The festivities kick off at 10:30am and run until 6pm.