New Research Projects Focus on Coastal Community Collaborations


Five new projects have received funding from the North Carolina Community Collaborative Research Grant program. In its second year, the program leverages support from the William R. Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science at NC State University with funding from North Carolina Sea Grant.

“Our initial round of funding in 2016 proved successful in achieving research and outreach outcomes for local communities, so we were excited to continue supporting these community-based collaborations,” shares Susan White, Sea Grant executive director.

“We are excited about the possibilities these projects present and the enduring value and impact that will result as we work together to address issues and opportunities advancing the economic and social well-being of our state,” adds Raj Narayan, associate director of the Kenan Institute. “The new projects continue to build on Sea Grant’s vision and leadership for community engagement and empowerment through this important program.”

Sea Grant Deputy Director John Fear agrees. “The selected projects showcase the science and local-knowledge experts working together as a team.”

That emphasis on collaboration appealed to the investigators as well. “When you have that partner in the community, you get research that is really meaningful and addresses a problem that needs to be solved. It is not research just for the sake of research,” notes Whitney Knollenberg, one of the lead investigators.

The new projects and their respective partners are:

Rising: A Visual and Oral History Perspective of Climate-Related Change on North Carolina’s Inner and Outer Banks

Baxter Miller of Stancil, Miller, & Co., with Barbara Garrity-Blake of Duke Marine Lab, Christine Avenarius of East Carolina University, Karen Willis Amspacher of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, Alton Ballance of the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Ben Cahoon of Cahoon & Kasten Architects and the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute Foundation, Stan Riggs of East Carolina University, Ryan Stancil of Bit & Grain, Susan West of Coastal Voices, and Jessica Whitehead of North Carolina Sea Grant

This project will merge science and humanities to explore what changes coastal North Carolinians have witnessed due to recurring and climate-related coastal hazards like sea-level rise. The team will pair oral histories with fine-art aerial photography in a traveling exhibition with stops in the Triangle, eastern North Carolina and the coast. The team believes the physical exhibit, along with a Facebook page and website for the project, will provide a tool for starting conversations about coastal change. They expect resource managers and community leaders will come away with a better understanding of the immediate threats, as well as perceptions of the people who call the coast home.

Identifying the Criteria Consumers Use to Select Value-Added Seafood

Ryan Speckman and Lin Peterson of Locals Seafood, with Barry Nash of North Carolina Sea Grant and Tom Armstrong of Vinnie’s Steakhouse and Tavern

Would consumers be more willing to try local seafood at home if it required little time or skills needed in the kitchen? This team will test ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat seafood products, with consumer feedback gathered through focus groups and a survey. Instead of using already popular seafood choices, they will concentrate on ways to make lesser-known species appealing to new customers as a way to diversify available options and further support local fishermen. Results will be shared with other producers online through Sea Grant’s website and at industry conferences and meetings.

Investigating Biological Invasions in N.C. Coasts and Estuaries: from A to Zombie

April M.H. Blakeslee of East Carolina University, with Tom Stroud of the North Carolina Estuarium, Russ Chesson of the North Carolina Estuarium and Kayla Clark of East Carolina University

Inspired by real-life zombies, this team will use ongoing research to develop an interactive exhibit at the North Carolina Estuarium in Washington that will focus on invasive species in the state. Real-time results from field observations of parasitic barnacle infestations in native mud crabs will be displayed alongside tanks with live crabs — infected and healthy — in a design created by a graduate art student. Lessons will be created to accompany the exhibit and citizen scientists can participate in field sampling at a site near the Estuarium.

Identifying Community Capital for a Sustainable Tourism Workforce on Ocracoke Island

Whitney Knollenberg of North Carolina State University, with David Tweedie of Ocracoke Alive!, Jane Harrison of North Carolina Sea Grant, David Griffith of East Carolina University, and Barbara Garrity Blake of Duke Marine Lab

Ocracoke Island is a unique and isolated destination that depends on tourism — and a sustainable tourism workforce. This team will develop a framework for understanding which resources support a strong workforce on the island and where the community may be able to make investments to build industry and community sustainability. Interviews with employers and focus groups with employees will reach a diversity of tourism stakeholders, including young adults and the members of the island’s growing Hispanic population. Findings, along with recommendations for future actions, will be summarized in a report and at an in-person workshop for the community. A study protocol also will be created for replication in other communities facing tourism-workforce challenges.

Commercialization of Low-Calcium Blue Crab Shedding Technology

David Cerino of Carteret Community College, with Adam Tyler of Marshallberg, Thomas C. McArthur III of the North Carolina State University Marine Aquaculture Research Center, and Chuck Weirich of North Carolina Sea Grant

Building on results from a North Carolina Sea Grant minigrant-funded project, this team will develop low-calcium technologies for use in the state’s soft-shell crabbing industry. They will refine the process of creating low-calcium water before working with commercial crab businesses to test the water in recirculating systems. Test results, including crab survival rates and harvest times, will be used to develop manuals and materials for transferring and commercializing the new technology.

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UGLY & WILD video premiere ​- Sept 13 @ Person St. Bar

Ugly & Wild

​Wednesday, Sept 13, 7pm
Person Street Bar, Raleigh
805 N. Person St.

$5 Admission
includes viewing, bingo, & NC oysters from Locals Seafood

Attend the Raleigh Premiere of our newest short film which is an entertaining look at the serious challenge of bringing ultra fresh N.C. seafood inland featuring Locals Seafood, Andrea Reusing and the Outland family of Mann’s Harbor. Admission includes film viewing, an Ugly Fish Bingo card and N.C. Oysters from Locals Seafood. Fish tacos will also be available for purchase from SPREAD Catering.

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Proceeds benefit
Questions? Contact

Ugly & Wild – Trailer

Trailer | UGLY & WILD: Learning To Love N.C. Fish from Vittles on Vimeo.

Even though your mama said, “there are many fish in the sea,” we often seek out what we already know. Locals Seafood is an inland fish house in Raleigh, North Carolina, that believes love awaits those who are willing to take a chance with the lesser-known, but ultra fresh, bounty caught off their coast. Over the last decade 40% of N.C. fish houses have closed due to increasing demand for imported seafood; which is familiar and cheap, but from obscure sources using unknown practices. UGLY & WILD explores how Locals Seafood is creating new connections with venerable coastal fishing families to bring one of the state’s last wild foods to a dinner plate near you. After all, true beauty is fried on the inside.

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Taste of Core Sound To Serve Up History

repost from:

HARKERS ISLAND – For the past 25 years, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center has made its focus those who call Down East home.

Taste of Core Sound 2017 Summer Edition, where you can enjoy a meal that represents Down East, is Friday evening. Photo: Contributed.

Those long-remembered names that have been quilted into local lore as well as the volunteers and staff who have spent tireless hours doing any and everything from spending the day frying seafood in a hot kitchen to chasing down memorabilia for an exhibit have been commemorated with the museum’s 25th anniversary documentary, “Core Sound’s Place,” that will be shown in its entirety for the first time during the annual Taste of Core Sound summer edition. The museum also hosts a Taste of Core Sound each winter.

Set for Friday, Aug. 25, the Taste of Core Sound summer edition will feature a spread of scallop fritters, baked flounder, seafood casserole, chicken and pastry, fresh wahoo salad, shrimp salad, collards, sweet potatoes, squash casserole, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, light rolls and fig cake that will be served at 7 p.m., before the documentary is shown at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m., when wine and cheese will be available.

Tickets are $50 per person for museum members and $65 for non-members. There will also be a raffle that night, giving ticketholders a chance to win a golf cart, 100 pounds of fresh shrimp, a Yeti Hopper 30 cooler or gift certificates to restaurants and shops across Carteret County. Tickets are $20 each or six for $100.

Karen Willis Amspacher, museum director, explained that the documentary is more of a scrapbook of all the people who have been part of the 25-year journey.

“The goal of the documentary was to bring together the voices of those who have been leaders in this work,” she said.

“Our question to them was ‘Why?’ What brought you to this project and what has caused you to invest so much of yourself in this effort for Down East?,” she said. “There were lots more questions of course, but essentially, Why? This museum is a story of people … People who care about their community – past, present and future … and that is relayed in these conversations.”

Filmmakers Ryan Stancil and Baxter Miller were tasked with condensing the past 25 years of museum history into a 25-minute film. They spent months interviewing folks who have had an impact on the museum, filtering through archives and listening to oral histories collected over the decades.

“It is an impossible task but they have captured the spirit of this museum and the heritage it preserves, documents and shares,” Amspacher added.

“Yes, it is an incredible building with an impressive collection and excellent programming but at the end of the day, it is the people and their shared dedication to their heritage and history that has made the museum a success and such an important resource for the region and North Carolina. It’s their voices that tell the story,” Miller said.

There are a range of voices that have contributed to the success of the museum that were recorded for the documentary, including that of Carteret County storyteller Connie Mason; Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild founding president Wayne Davis; volunteer membership secretary Margaret Goodwin; decoy carver Lionel Gilgo; North Carolina Arts Council director Wayne Martin; Kathryn Chadwick, the granddaughter of founding chair, the late Billy Smith; historian and author David Cecelski; and county historian Rodney Kemp.

Echoing throughout the film is the sentiment that it’s the people who make the museum.

“I’ve always said that Down East is not so much the place, it’s the people. And to me the people are the hidden treasure of Down East, North Carolina, and the Core Sound waterfowl Museum highlights the people and what they are and who they are, so I think it plays a vital mission to understanding who we are,” Mason said in the film.

“Core Sound’s Place,” a documentary on the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center’s 25th anniversary to be shown Friday depicts how the museum was built by its community to showcase Down East heritage. Photo: Contributed

Cecelski is quoted in the film as saying that the museum is one of the handful of most important museums in the country.

“And yes, the museum does very professional exhibits and they’re a first-class museum, but what’s really extraordinary about them is a way that they’re redefining what a museum is … So, it’s a museum, but half the time it’s more like church and it’s a space for homecoming and reunion and for connecting the generations. You know you couldn’t have a museum any closer to the people and the place.”

Martin of the state’s Arts Council said the office of folklife programs began collaborating with the waterfowl museum.

“I was just struck. I was struck by the fact that of all the groups I was working with, there were two groups that felt so strongly about place – the connection of place to culture. One was the eastern band of Cherokee. The other was Core Sound and Harkers Island and those communities Down East,” he said.

Martin continued by explaining that they realize that the dirt and the water and the trees and the flora and the fauna shape who they are as people and that they, in turn, have shaped those resources and utilized those resources and to some extent changed them. Adding that the fact that everything grew out of that philosophy of being connected to the land and place today’s world is so rare.

“To find communities that understand how important it is to honor that concept and, in a sense, stay true to it so that your identity remains connected to that very spot on the earth or in North Carolina.”

Kemp has a long history with the museum and spends many hours a year there leading programs, including one he created, Community Nights. One night a month, a community is highlighted  following a potluck dinner.

“You’re talking love now. You’re talking love of saltwater. You’re talking love of water everywhere. You’re talking about the breezes, the ones that freezes us in winter, and cools us in the summer. And the people,” Kemp said about the museum. “The people are unbelievable. And I don’t just mean Down East, all of Carteret County, those that are native Carteret County that were raised here are loving people that will give you what you need in a time, good friends, very good friends.”

The granddaughter of founding chairman the late Billy Smith, Chadwick has many generations tied to the museum. She said that she thinks that the museum is an anchor to what they want the future generations to be able to see.

“We were excited that there was going to be a museum. …  I think everybody was proud to see it break ground and I know my grandmother was very happy to see the gallery completed … that was probably the highlight of the museum for her, was to actually know that the building was complete and everything was how she you know if everyone had envisioned it. The dream had become true.”

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Amberjack Steaks with Almond Tapenade Recipe


4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped
¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat in a non-stick skillet. Pat amberjack steak dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place steaks in pan, skin side down and cook for 1-2 minutes, until skin is crispy. Lay steak down flat in the pan and cook another 2 minutes, then turn again.

Remove from heat and place on a paper towel. Set aside.

Finely chop garlic cloves and place in mortal and pestle or food processor. Add chopped almonds and remaining olive oil. Pound using pestle or pulse food processor until a chunky paste forms. Fold in cherry tomato halves. Spoon mixture over amberjack steaks and serve.

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Slash Creek Oysters

CATCH INFO: Shellfish Cultivated in Hatteras, NC
Grower: Katherine McGlade
Cultivation Method: Floating Bags


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Shucking Oysters with Fletcher O’Neal

Fisherman Profile by Maddy Sweitzer-Lamme

Fletcher O’Neal pulls his truck through a narrow road and up to the edge of the water. We climb out of the car and into the boat, where he offers me a water and admonishes me that when the sun is this hot it’s easy to get dehydrated.

It’s the middle of July and Ocracoke, the small island where Fletcher was born and has lived most of his life, is packed with tourists in search of sun, salt and seafood. On his boat, though, as we speed less than a quarter mile off the island, the heat and intensity of the island’s high season falls away.

fletcher-oysters2Fletcher grows Devil Shoal Oysters & Clams about a five-minute boat ride from Ocracoke, surrounded by cormorants and other animals. He laughs describing a sea snail he found recently that shot out purple ink when you touched it, which he brought to a friend for his aquarium. The oysters, he says, are so close to the island that they’re intrinsically connected. For him, they’re a true taste of home.

As we pull up to his oyster baskets, he cuts the engine. It’s so quiet – I immediately understand the appeal of his work, even as he uses his whole body to lift a basket onto the boat for me to look at.

He starts shucking the oysters, almost faster than I can eat them. I ask if he likes them and he laughs.

“It’s the one thing my doctor told me I can’t eat,” he tells me, rolling his eyes. Fletcher had kidney issues a few years ago, which took him off the island for some of the longest stretches he’s been away his whole life. The treatment was hard on his body, but he tells me it was also painful to be away from Ocracoke and the water.

“I would get out for the weekend and come home, and I always just wanted to come float on the water, even if I couldn’t fish or do nothing.”

8 Questions with Fletcher O’Neal

What is your favorite fish to target commercially? Flounder

What is your favorite fish to target Recreationally? Speckled Trout

What is your favorite fish to eat? Red Drum

Name 3 watermen, over your lifetime, that you consider to be the most professional guys in the business…guys that exude professionalism? Farris O’Neal (alive), Carlton Boyce O’neal, Dave Havard (alive)

Describe the best or most favorite boat you’ve ever owned? 20′ Sea Ox…crab and fished out of it…sold it years ago

Who is your favorite college team? UNC

What do you like to do when you aren’t fishing? Hunting ducks

What are TWO things somebody has to do or see when visiting your hometown? eat seafood and visit the lighthouse


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Locals Oyster Bar @ Tift Merrit Show – Aug 19

We’re teaming up with Spread Events to present a pop-up Oyster Bar for Tift Merritt & Friends @ NCMA! Doors open @ 6pm and we’ll be serving Raw NC Oysters on-the-half-shell, peel & eat Pamlico Sound Shrimp + marinated Cocktail Crab Claws.


SAT, Aug 19, 2017
6pm doors

Featuring M. C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and The Suitcase Junket

Raleigh native Tift Merritt has performed at countless festivals, hidden corner bars, and concert halls in faraway cities. She wanted to bring the best of the goodness back to her hometown to say “thank you”—to water her roots, so to speak.

The fête is a one-time performance in the style of the Rolling Thunder Revue: a musical family singing one another’s songs and cheering each other on. Having toured for almost two decades, Merritt most laments not seeing her friends who are all on tour. And what she loves most about music is harmony. Assembling a one-time-only family band to make a great, unique noise was reason enough to make this night happen.

After nearly a decade in New York City, many trips to Marfa, Texas, and a long-time love affair with Paris, Merritt has collected a varied and wonderful set of friendships and experiences. Her close ties with the NCMA’s outdoor venue and staff (including a taped UNC-TV program) created a natural ground for further collaboration. This year’s show promises an evening to delight music lovers, cocktail drinkers, casual neighbors strolling by, and parents and children alike.

If the family fête is a love note to Merritt’s musical family, friendships, and hometown, it extends most of all to the littlest of the family. Having become a mother in 2016, Merritt wanted to make sure that children and parents alike would be at home and exploring on their night out.

The fête also features:

• Butch Anthony’s Traveling Museum of Wonder: Site-specific installations from Seale, Alabama, created for curious children of all ages
• The Commissary: Shop wares curated and presented by Raleigh Denim – Oak Moss Attic – Raleigh Vintage – The Possum Trot
• Food trucks, special libations, family play, and more

About the performers:

M. C. Taylor frequently performs under the moniker Hiss Golden Messenger. He and his band have released several records on Durham’s own Merge Records.

Eric Slick may be known as the drummer for Pennsylvania rock band Dr. Dog (since 2010); he is also the drummer for Adrian Belew of King Crimson and co-leader of the Philly band Lithuania. His debut solo debut Palisades, released in April on Richmond label Egghunt Records, sees the musician stepping out from behind the kit. Slick is on tour supporting Palisades throughout 2017.

Alexandra Sauser-Monnig is a singer-songwriter based in North Carolina. She is a member of the folk trio Mountain Man and has collaborated with Feist, Tift Merritt, and Hiss Golden Messenger. She is working on her debut solo album.

The Suitcase Junket is Matt Lorenz: artist, tinkerer, swamp Yankee, one-man band. His is the road-worn voice rising over the grind of a tube-amped dumpster guitar, and the wild double pitches of throat singing.

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Sandbar Oyster Co.

CATCH INFO: Shellfish Cultivated in Newport River, NC
Growers: David “Clammerhead” Cessna & Niels Lindquist

SALINITY: moderately high
SIZE: Small
CUP: moderate

ATLANTIC EMERALDS – green gilled (avail ~JAN-MAR)
SALINITY: moderately high
SIZE: small/Med
CUP: moderate

>> PRESS: Growing Better Bivalves: Science, local knowledge enhance N.C. business


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Seafood Lobby Day – WED, June 14

BOTTOM LINE: If this bill were to pass, it would be the first step in eradicating commercial fishing from our public trust waters…and unless you go to the coast yourself and catch it, you won’t be able to enjoy NC seafood any longer. We already have an effective management system that our tax dollars pay for, and if anything, we need to build on this system, not gut it altogether. We should be using good science from from our state biologists and the vast university system that we already have in place…not ignoring it because it doesn’t agree with one’s beliefs.

MORE INFO: NC’s Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 was and is the gold standard for fisheries management which other states have tried to emulate. According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, commercial fishing is the 7th most regulated industry in the US and state officials want regulations that make sense and achieve protection of fish stocks while allowing sustainable harvest.

House Bill 867 seeks to gut the act by changing many of the keystones of the legislation. It aims to change sustainable harvest to conservation but doesn’t say precisely how that would work or what it even means.

Three years of study, public meetings and development of the act was overseen by a panel made up of commercial and recreational fishermen, scientists and environmentalists. They crafted a comprehensive plan that includes peer-reviewed science as the basis for the creation of Fisheries Management Plans for individual species. To ensure decisions based on a broad array of knowledge and first hand experience, five advisory panels comprised of recreational and commercial fishermen and scientists review plans and give feed back to the Marine Fisheries Commission.

House Bill 867 would remove the advisory panels and replace with a council with no dedicated seats, thus allowing the exclusion of scientists, commercial fishermen or others with knowledge and experience.


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VIDEO: How to Fillet a Fish

via Western Wake Farmers’ Market: How to fillet a whole fish. Purchasing whole fish gives you more options for your weekly menu and is usually less expensive than purchasing fillets. I bought this fish from Locals Seafood. It’s important to buy fish from vendors you know and trust, and every Saturday Locals is at Western Wake Farmers Market – Morrisville.

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