Sandy halts oyster harvesting in the Cape Fear area


HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — Hurricane Sandy may be in the past, but area commercial fishermen are still reeling from the storm’s effects. The storm has taken its toll specifically on oyster harvesting.

Oyster season only opened a few weeks ago, but this past weekend the state’s Marine Fisheries Division put a halt to commercial harvesting in New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick Counties.

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Bill Moller, owner of Natures Way Farm and Seafood in Hampstead, says it has definitely hurt business.

“Not only did we get hurt, but I’ve got five other guys that dig for me, plus the many other oystermen up and down our coastline that are without the income, so yea it was an impact without a doubt,” Moller says.

During a typical day in oyster season, Moller says his diggers will bring in about five bushels. With the season shut down, the farm has lost about 40 bushels or $1,400.

Fortunately for Moller, the effects of Hurricane Sandy do not pose a long term threat.

“We’re very fortunate that it’s been on the minimal side,” he says.

The reason behind the closure is because of Sandy’s excessive rains, which brought an increased chance of bacterial pollution to the shellfish. However, that is expected to be cleared up by Thursday.

“They are opening a small portion of our sound, so we get back to work and so we’re looking forward to that,” Moller says.

Moller says oyster season will open back up Thursday morning at sunrise, but only in certain areas.