Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association
Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association
OWWA logo:
An old-style Ocracoke
shrimp boat coming in.
Research & Restoration

Tonging for oysters at OcracokeOyster Restoration
Ocracoke is surrounded by historic shallow water oyster reefs, but the excellent qualities of the oysters lead to over-harvest in the last century. Free swimming oyster larvae need to attach themselves to a substrate or “cultch” material, such as clean oyster shell, to grow and develop. Thus, a usual method of reef restoration is to “plant” oyster shell or small pieces of marl rock, to jump start the process.

Ocracoke watermen will plant the first load of marl in April 2010, or when the water reaches the correct temperature. “We are looking forward to getting this long awaited restoration project in gear with our new shallow draft barge” says Gene Ballance, oyster researcher and commercial fisherman. Unlike standard barges, this particular type will be able to access the shallow areas where the historic oyster beds are located. As part of the Fish House project grant, the Ocracoke Foundation received $30,000 from the Golden LEAF Foundation to institute an oyster restoration project. The funds allowed for the purchase of a 12’X 30’ barge, motor, trailer, and some oyster cultch materials in addition the yearly allotment provided to the Ocracoke area by the State of North Carolina.

Project Review   |   Maps, History & Oysters Article   |   Oyster Habitat by the NC Coastal Federation

Henry Bragg at Ocracoke, NC
How Living on the Water Shaped A Culture:

An oral history project by Ocracoke High School English and Film Students

To be on permanent display at Watermen’s Exhibit

Currently in progress (January 2010)
Completion expected end of school year 2010

Questions?  Email us at info@ocracokewatermen.org