Charlie Locke

LANDS AT Wanchese, NC
CATCHES spanish mackerel, bluefish, amberjack, sea mullet, sharks

“I learned early in this business to get after it every day and keep a positive attitude.”

Charlie Locke learned to fish as a boy in Florida, his father showing him the ropes. After moving to North Carolina in 1991, Charlie has spent much of his time in the shadow of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. He steers his boat, F/V Salvation, past the island nearly every day.

“I have always loved the challenge of providing a product to market on my own and the independent nature of commercial fishing. I learned early in this business to get after it every day and keep a positive attitude. Don’t get caught up in what you can’t catch, but stay focused on what you can.”

Over two decades, Charlie has witnessed a lot of change in fisheries policy. An increase in regulations on commercial fishermen has been coupled with a huge increase in the supply of cheap imported seafood. This has tightened the market for his NC-caught seafood over the years. He believes local consumers will continue to support the industry despite all this change. “Continuing to educate customers about the sustainable and diverse options we have available in North Carolina gives me hope for the future.”

Consumers can support the NC commercial fishing industry by buying locally caught seafood, and by eating underutilized or lesser-known species. Buying lesser known species helps take the burden off more popular fish like flounder and tuna, and it helps fishermen create a diverse income. Charlie’s favorite fish is sea mullet, also known as whiting or kingfish. This fish has been eaten for centuries on the North Carolina coast, but today it is often overlooked in favor of more popular species. Charlie’s preferred method is to coat the fish in finely ground cracker meal and fry it golden brown.

Learn more about Charlie in a UNC-TV special feature; view it here.

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