NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It’s not hard to find seafood here in the Cape Fear, but where does our local seafood industry stand in terms of sustainability?
“We have a lot of new growers,” Seaview Crab Company Co-owner Sam Romano said. “It’s an exciting time to grow oysters in North Carolina.”
As the demand goes up, supply tends to go down. Entrepreneurs like Romano are trying to change that with the help of Fish 2.0.
“Our seafood production in North Carolina has actually been going down for a variety of reasons,” Romano said. “But shellfish is something that’s new and up and coming.”
Entrepreneurs came out to a two-day workshop hosted by UNCW and Fish 2.0. At the workshop they pitched business proposals and new technology for the fishing industry.
“It’s a really important place for the seafood industry in terms of shellfish production and fisheries,” Co-founder of Fish 2.0 Monica Jain said. “Also, there is so much technology bubbling up here because you’ve got such a vibrant biotech industry, and a lot of the biotech that comes is really applicable to the seafood field.”
Jain says Fish 2.0 is a global community. She says their goal is to increase the number of sustainable seafood companies and increase investment into them.
“We’re starting to see the lion fish in this area,” Diane Durance said. “We’re having water quality issues. We have a difficult environment for oyster aquaculture because of the storms and water quality.”
Durance is with the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and says these are just a few issues fisheries face in the Cape Fear region.
Romano hopes the workshop will help his business grow alongside the sustainable fish industry.
“Expanding on what we have already,” Romano said. “And to add value, cook seafood, improve our shellfish leases. Also, just honing our retail that’s growing.”
Jain says Fish 2.0 holds workshops with entrepreneurs around the country to build on sustainability.