New Year Update

Happy New Year!

Outer Banks Catch has said adieu to 2017 and is welcoming 2018 with a huge smile.

Many of the same issues that plagued 2017 are still around but the commercial fishing industry and its supporters are ready for them.

One of the bright spots is that a complete economic impact study was finally accomplished by the new economist at the Division of Marine Fisheries. In the past, the value of the commercial fishing industry was based only on dockside value – what was paid directly to the fisherman at the dock.

The proper direct and indirect impact is found to be $735,035,408 – almost three-quarters of a billion dollars.

The economic study was accomplished as part of a to-do list related to the shrimp petition presented to the Marine Fisheries Commission in 2017. The petition for rule-making requires an economic impact statement to be submitted before the petition can be considered.

The petition seeks to severely curtail shrimping and to find the required economic impact of the proposed changes, a complete industry impact total was needed before the portion related to shrimping can be determined. That second step is expected to be finished in late Spring or early Summer.

Also related to the shrimp petition, on Jan. 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a shrimp bycatch workshop at the Riverfront Convention Center. The workshop panel will discuss findings from the multi-year research project aimed at reducing bycatch in shrimp trawl nets.

On Jan. 11, a three-person Marine Fisheries Commission committee will meet to discuss how to define a commercial fisherman. Chaired by MFC Chairman Sammy Corbett, the committee includes commissioners Chuck Laughridge and Mike Wicker.

The stated purpose of the attempt to define commercial fisherman is a perception that recreational fishermen are buying commercial licenses to bypass recreational hook and line creel limits.

A recreational saltwater license is $15; commercial licenses are $400.

When Recreational Commercial Gear Licenses were raised from $35 to $70, the number of issued licenses took a steep dive of about 50 percent.


A Stumpy Point fisherman needs help!

A Stumpy Point fisherman needs help!

Jason Sadler, a fisherman from Stumpy Point, has an advanced brain tumor which has forced him off the water while he goes through treatment. In addition to worrying about his health, he also is struggling to pay medical deductibles and ongoing living expenses such as his mortgage, electric and other household bills.
Outer Banks Catch has set up a relief fund account with the Outer Banks Relief Foundation to accept donations and to oversee the process of paying his bills. When the time comes that Jason no longer needs the help, the fund will become the permanent Working Watermen’s Fund to help others with medical needs that they can’t afford.
To kick off the fund-raising, the fishing village of Stumpy Point held a potluck on Sunday, Oct. 22. Donations were accepted at the door and the result was amazing! How much did folks pay to eat the food that they provided themselves? More than $2,000!
Outer Banks Catch has asked all members to hold their own in-house fundraisers to help fund this account. Restaurants might consider running a special with the profits dedicated to the fund or contribute a $1 per dessert sold or $1 for each customer served during a specified time period.
Seafood retailers and dealers are resourceful creative folks and we’re sure that they can come up with their own ideas.
Outer Banks Catch will promote the fundraisers in ads placed through social media and in print in the Coastland Times and Outer Banks Sentinel. Information in the ads will be the name of the business, what its specific promotion is, date(s) and times. And, of course, the purpose of the fundraisers.
The fundraisers also will be promoted on the Outer Banks Catch website at under events.
Send the specifics about your fundraiser to at least one week before the date to allow time for the ad to be designed and placed with media outlet. Information about who the check should be made out to and where it should be sent will be provided. Or, those who prefer to handle business online will receive instructions about the Pay Pal account at the Outer Banks Relief Foundation.
We hope that you will join us in funding this new giving venture!

5th Annual Day at the Docks

5th Annual Day at the Docks

Fall means festival season everywhere, but there is only seafood-themed event that occurs in the heart of a fishing village located on the edge of the string of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks. Day at the Docks, A Celebration of Hatteras Island Watermen is held annually in front of the marinas in Hatteras Village. A dream weekend for fans of fishing, seafood, history and good community, this year, the free, two-day event will be held on Sept. 15 and 16.

Begin the weekend by attending the Hurricane Awareness Town Hall at 1 p.m. at the Hatteras Village Civic Center. Presented by the National Weather Service - Newport Office the town hall is a great place to learn about hurricanes so you can better prepare for them.

Later that day, Talk of the Villages: Reflections on Fishing as a Living, will feature the first-ever viewing of a photo documentary by award winning local photographer Daniel Pullen as well as an interactive conversation with local, commercial fishermen.

Beginning at 6:30, this free event will feature opportunities to view Pullen’s new, traveling art show as well as talk with fishermen about their work and the joys and frustrations of the seafood industry.

Talk of the Villages will be held at the Hatteras Village Community Building, located between the post office and fire station on NC 12 in Hatteras Village.

Saturday is a day full of events for food and fishing lovers of all ages. For folks who like to eat and cook seafood, don't miss Steve Bailey's clam chowder at the Outer Banks Catch tables. Owner of Risky Business Seafood, Bailey's chowder presentation is always a favorite.

Also at the Outer Banks Catch tables, “Wetland Riders” author Robert Fritchey will be on hand at various times throughout the day to sign his books which also includes “Let the Good Times Roll: Louisiana Cashes in Its Chips with the 1995 Net Ban".

And be sure to make it to one of the most popular locations of the day, the seafood throwdown tent.

At 1:30, students of Cape Hatteras High School culinary teacher Evan Ferguson will kick off a wild-caught, local shrimp extravaganza. Local students will lead the demonstration.

The main event, the Shrimp and Grits Throwdown will follow the demo. This year, there is a new spin on the annual event; the mystery fish is being revealed beforehand! Watch two North Carolina shrimp and grits experts make their special recipes. Judges will decide who made the tastiest offering and will award the winning plate. You might even get a taste; limited samples will be available.

If acquiring a new recipe isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities; you can learn how to clean a fish with the good folks from Oden’s Dock or try your hand at the Concrete Marlin Contest. Professional captains and mates vie against each other and time as they "hook" and "gaff" a concrete cylinder that replicates the weight of a fighting marlin. It has become so popular that a new division, the Concrete Sailfish, has been added for the younger fishermen.

Be sure to stick around for the Blessing of the Fleet at Hatteras Harbor Marina in which a historic shad boat will place a wreath on the water to honor watermen who have "crossed the bar" for their final time.

Day at the Docks began as a way to celebrate the "Spirit of Hatteras" when the village recovered from Hurricane Isabel in 2003 as an intact community, anchored by the commercial and charter fishermen. The now annual event is a confirmation of the strength of community, heritage and living traditions of the waterman. The family friendly celebration features seafood cooking demos, fishing boats and gear, fishing industry skills contests and competitions, live music and ‘life on the water’ games for children. For more information, please visit

Dust off the past!

Dust off the past!

Sharing family history ranks right alongside breaking bread with friends on the Favorite Things to Do list in Outer Banks’ historical fishing communities.

George Huss, a grad student at East Carolina University, is doing historical and archaeological research into the history of the porpoise/dolphin fishing industry. He is interested in both stories and relics such as trypots (large, cast iron cooking pots used to boil porpoise oil), seine nets, blunt steel hooks (short hooks to pull the porpoise), mincing knives, and other objects used in fishing.

Anyone who is or knows of a descendant of North Carolina’s porpoise fishery families, please contact him at (email) or 252.214.2281 (cell phone). George is in the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University and is working on his thesis.

New Outer Banks Byway Book Released

No one can understand the commercial fishing industry without understanding the heritage and culture of the area. Living at the Water's Edge: A Heritage Guide to the Outer Banks is a must read! 

living at the water's edge outer banks byway book

The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway received its designation in 2009, an act that stands as a testament to the historical and cultural importance of the communities linked along the North Carolina coast from Whalebone Junction across to Hatteras and Ocracoke Island and down to the small villages of the Core Sound region. This rich heritage guide introduces readers to the places and people that have made the route and the region a national treasure. Welcoming visitors on a journey across sounds and inlets into villages and through two national seashores, Barbara Garrity-Blake and Karen Willis Amspacher share the stories of people who have shaped their lives out of saltwater and sand. The book considers how the Outer Banks residents have stood their ground and maintained a vibrant way of life while adapting to constant change that is fundamental to life where water meets the land.

Living at the Water's Edge will lead readers to the proverbial porch of the Outer Banks locals, extending a warm welcome to visitors while encouraging them to understand what many never see or hear: the stories, feelings, and meanings that offer a cultural dimension to the byway experience and deepen the visitor’s understanding of life on the tideline.

Give yourself a treat and take advantage of one of these visits with the authors. And, of course, read the book.

living at the water's edge book tour