While more than 80 percent of seafood served in the U.S. is imported, the Crystal Coast, North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks, provides visitors the chance to dine on “fresh from the docks” seafood that was caught the same day in clean, North Carolina coastal waters with the Carteret Catch program. Culinary connoisseurs support a local fishing industry that has sustained for 400 years, while enjoying the freshest ingredients on menu items designated with the Carteret Catch logo, from Wild Mushroom Encrusted Triggerfish and Pan Seared Dayboat Grouper with an Asparagus Smoked Bacon Crab Saute to She Crab Bisque and Sesame Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Thai Red Curry and Coconut Sauce.
Fishing has been an integral part of Carteret County’s heritage and economy for nearly 400 years. The Carteret Catch program supports the business of nearly 1,850 local fishermen making a living off the waters, and preserves a culture that characterizes the central coastal region of North Carolina. With populations reaching only 350 in some areas, fishermen have a sense of obligation and responsibility to support their communities. The fishing way of life is interchangeable today with the lives of the first settlers of Carteret County in the 1700s. From the whaling industry in the early 18th century, through the mullet and oyster trade in the 19th century, all the way up to the thriving modern seafood industry, Carteret County has relied on the bounty of the sea for its livelihood.
Over the last ten years an influx of lower-cost imported seafood has began to displace domestic seafood in many commercial markets causing concern for those interested in a healthy epicurean experience. Carteret County’s Carteret Catch program is a joint venture between local restaurants, retailers and the fishing industry that guarantees fresh seasonal seafood caught by local fishermen. Restaurants and retailers displaying the Carteret Catch logo on their menus and windows are partners in the program and provide customers with seafood fresh off the Carolina Coast, which are significantly healthier than the antibiotic-fed, farmed fish commonly used in restaurants.
Dangling like a delicate strand of pearls off the coast of North Carolina, the favored Atlantic beach destination of generations captivates discerning palates with the "Crystal Coast is Cookin’" promotion encompassing food festivals, restaurant offers and epicurean excursions. With 85 miles of silken coastline along the southern Outer Banks, 56 miles of which are in the protected Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Crystal Coast includes the seaside towns of Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, and Morehead City. The Crystal Coast is also home to one of the oldest cemeteries in the state, Fort Macon State Park, Blackbeard’s legendary ship the Queen Anne’s Revenge and is the setting for several of Nicholas Sparks’ best selling novels.
added: June 11, 2009
updated: June 12, 2009