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NC - NC Oyster Trail Encourages Oyster Tourism

While many are familiar with the concept of beer tourism, there’s a new type of tourism making waves in Eastern North Carolina: oyster tourism.

The NC Oyster Trail, administered by the North Carolina Coastal Federation and North Carolina Sea Grant in partnership with the North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association, is working provide oyster tourism experiences that will help to sustain and grow the supply of, and demand for, North Carolina oysters.

Founded in May, the organization’s goal is to expand awareness of the economic, environmental and social benefits that oysters bring to the state’s seafood industry and coastal communities.

The organization is made up primarily of restaurants, shellfish farms and seafood markets, and is also supported by educational organizations and ecological groups that provide experiences relating to the ecology of oysters and why they matter culturally, economically and environmentally.

Jane Harrison, a coastal economics specialist for NC Sea Grant, said that as filter feeders, oysters play a unique role in purifying waterways and contributing to biodiversity. She explained that oyster farming is a sustainable farming method that has seen tremendous growth in North Carolina over the past five years.

“Virginia has had an aquaculture industry for years, and now our growers are helping" to move the industry forward, Harrison said.

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