Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ocracoke Oyster Wars

We have published our latest Ocracoke Newsletter.

This month's story is about the almost forgotten 1890 "Oyster Wars" that pitted islanders against outside business interests. You can read the article here:


  1. Anonymous8:52 AM

    The state of NC issues proclamations of polluted areas. I could not tell if OI was in such a designated area. If harvesting oysters is deemed illegal in certain areas then people will go to areas open. How does one harvest oysters today, in 2015 North Carolina? PS Maine has similar troubles with lobster pots.

  2. Most of the oyster harvesters around Hatteras Island vicinity pull a dredge, however I "just heard" marine fisheries folks have banned it for the remainder of the season. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.

    So if you tong them or collect by hand, you're still permitted to harvest. It's relatively non-destructive and less prone to over harvesting.

    Today there is a trend using aquaculture and private leases to grow and harvest oysters. Cages are used and oysters hand harvested.

    The skipjacks pulled 2 dredges, one port and one starboard, provided the wind was strong enough. Dredging is a bit destructive to the bottom, catching everything in its path, including benthic life and submerged aquatic vegetation. Imagine hundreds of Skipjacks in Pamlico Sound!

    By the way, great read on the Winslow involvement in the oyster wars... very educational.

  3. Anon. 8:52 -- I think I can get a photo of a present-day oyster dredger. If so, I will post it soon.

    Mike -- thanks for the comments. I don't know about the ban...just purchased two bushels of oysters yesterday in Swan Quarter.

  4. On Tuesday I was in the Swan Quarter harbor on the Windfall II. We passed several commercial oyster dredging boats...but none of us took a picture! I did find this one (of an oyster dredger in the Chesapeake Bay) on the Internet: