ONSLOW COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- It is a project that is generating jobs and laying some ground work, literally. Fishermen are planting oyster shells, but this is just a portion of a larger multimillion-dollar project that will create more than 100 jobs in North Carolina.
The fishermen planted the shells in Stump Sound, a shallow mass of water near Holly Ridge. This work is part of a project that will restore coastal habitats in North Carolina. The effort is paid for by federal stimulus money.
"The $5 million project has resulted to date in 134 jobs and almost 48 acres of oyster habitat created," Ted Wilgis of the NC Coastal Federation said.
These fishermen, who are between seasons, are being paid $2 for each bushel of shells they plant. You can bet they're thankful for the work.
"It's definitely going to help me out as far as making it this month until shrimping picks up," John Craig said.
The project couldn't have come at a better time. Besides a struggling economy, the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is taking its toll on the seafood market. That means more pressure on fishery stocks in North Carolina.
UNCW will monitor the site to evaluate oyster reef development. In the coming years the site will open for harvest, which will generate more money for fishermen.