1st GENERATION OYSTER FARMER
FARMS NEAR Ocracoke, NC
VESSEL NAME Miss Maranda
CULTIVATES Devil Shoal Oysters
“I’ve always been on the water. It’s just peaceful out here. I think about leaving, but there’s no place like home.”
A five-minute boat ride from Ocracoke Island brings you to Fletcher O’Neal’s oyster lease. It’s here he grows the delicious Devil Shoal oyster among the cormorants, snails, and other sea dwellers. He laughs describing a sea snail he found recently that shot out purple ink when you touched it. The oysters, he says, are so close to the island that they’re intrinsically connected. For him, they’re a true taste of Ocracoke.
The power of home is something he’s learned a lot about in the past few years. Experiencing medial issues a few years back, Fletcher had to spend a lot of time away from Ocracoke. The distance from home was as painful as the medical treatments. “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.”
Now recovered, Fletcher is proud to work his oyster lease. He’s even encouraging his son to begin oyster cultivation, contributing to the next generation of oyster farmers. Learn more about Fletcher’s Devil Shoal Oysters here.
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“I love advocating for fishermen because they are hardworking men. They go to work, rain, sun, snow. They battle the elements. They’re resilient people. I love how resourceful they are.”