With the support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Department of Commerce the North Carolina Coastal Federation has done a feasibility study to determine the most salient needs of the shellfish industry and propose a plan for addressing them. The ultimate goal is to reduce barriers to entry for new individuals interested in joining the industry and existing growers interested in expanding their business.
The feasibility study determined that some of the barriers that growers face are access to growing waters, refrigeration facilities, and areas to work and process their product. The study recommends development of a network mariculture incubators along the coast that provide services to address the identified needs.
We are proposing to build three regional incubators – Onslow, Carteret and Hyde Counties. Our vision is that the incubator hubs are integrated into local communities, attuned to their needs, and coordinated as a whole supporting the state industry.
The project we are also building capacity in vulnerable rural communities which are usually hit harder by hurricanes and other climate disaster and they struggle to recover. Increasing their resiliency, capability to recover and have viable economic alternatives within their own community is important for their prosperity.