BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s the start of wild oyster season, and also North Carolina Oyster Week, highlighting the importance of oyster farming in our coastal waterways.

The week is all about the expanding oyster industry with harvesters, markets and restaurants all helping the economy and environment.

One farmer in Beaufort said North Carolina has great opportunities for aquaculture.

“It’s a growing industry right now and we got lots of new people coming on board and starting farms all over Carteret County,” said Roy Emerson, owner of Roysters NC.

Many harvesters sell their oysters throughout the state and country.

“To me, oysters are great,” said Tyler Chadwick, owner of CarolinaGold Oyster Company. “Not only do they have a huge economic impact here on our coast, but the environmental impact oysters have is huge, too.”

Chadwick said he got into oyster farming due to the positive ecological impacts it has.

“They can filter 50 gallons of water a day,” he said. “So if you just do basic math, and your farm grows a million oysters, that’s 50 million gallons a day. You know, that’s huge.”

With Ian bringing heavy rainfall recently, many farms have been closed due to bacteria.

“I think this is the 11th day in a row I haven’t been able to pick because of the water,” said Emerson. “The water has been too dirty, the bacteria levels are too high for us to pick.”

Farmers are in good faith that they’ll be able to pick their doubled oyster orders for people to enjoy throughout oyster week.

“I’m really hopeful that we open up this week so we can go ahead and fill those orders at the end of the week,” said Chadwick.

To learn more about North Carolina Oyster Week, click here.