BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) — This week is North Carolina Oyster Week. It’s recognized to honor the oyster farming industry in our state.
Roy Emerson, the owner of Royster’s NC in Beaufort, has been in business for four years, with the assistance of his son and daughter. He is also a part of the NC Oyster Trail, which promotes the oyster industry by taking people interested on educational tours of the farms.
He said he focuses a lot on sustainability. He takes out fewer oysters than what he puts in the water and recycles shells to grow wild oysters and increase their population.
“I think, this past year, it gave a little bit of a more boost than it has in the past year as far as income and dollar-wise,” Emerson said. “But it’s creating jobs. For you know, the farms that are growing, the businesses that are selling the products that were we’re growing.”
Emerson said there are around 30 to 40 oyster farms just in Carteret County. He said he catches anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 oysters a day, but hand selects the best 1,000 to 2,000 oysters to sell.
Over the past year, Emerson said the oyster industry has had a bit of a boost in terms of income and that farms are growing, creating more and more jobs for the community. He said he sells his oysters to two restaurants and a seafood market in Raleigh, a restaurant and seafood market in Greenville and to Rose Seafood Market right in Beaufort, which he said are one of his best customers.
“Well, you know, the number of farms in the last 10 years has increased tremendously,” said Rebecca Rose, the manager of Rose Seafood Market. “And it’s been a huge help to the local economy.”
Rose said they receive about 1,000 oysters a week coming from Royster’s and three to four other oyster farmers in the Beaufort area. She said their oysters are fresh, right out of the water and just five miles from their shop.
Rose says the number of farms has increased tremendously in the last 10 years and has been a huge help to the local economy.