Just wanted to share this article about the Ocracoke fishermen's group that saved the only fish house on the island. It doesn't get fresher than this! And I know, because we also tried to buy some shrimp to freeze at the "fish market" next to the Sanitary Fish Market in Morehead City and the nice guy told me it had already been frozen, so I couldn't freeze it again. Then he sent me along the road to a place with fresh catch. That was nice of him.
Ocracoke's last remaining fish house no longer floundering
Posted to: News
© July 22, 2007
By Catherine Kozak
After being resurrected from near-demise, Ocracoke's last remaining fish house now seems to be on its way to a more secure future.
The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center has agreed to provide a grant for $325,000 to pay back a bridge loan to Hyde County, which in turn relieves Ocracoke Seafood Co. of its debt, said interim C ounty M anager Carl Classen.
The county will then formulate a legal agreement with the Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association, operators of the fish house.
"Basically, it contracts with them to do the work they've started and it allows them to continue as a cooperative fish house without this big debt hanging over them," Classen said Friday. "The debt likely would have caused them to shut down the operation."
Hyde County made the loan to the fish house in May, after state money fell through.
The fish house reopened in June 2006 after almost being lost to development. The watermen's group operates under the nonprofit Ocracoke Foundation, incorporated in August. All profits of the operation will go back to the watermen's association.
In addition to a having a fish house on Silver Lake harbor to off load fish, weigh it, clean it and pack it, Ocracoke Seafood Co. has a retail storefront market to sell fresh fish to the public.
Robin Payne, an organizer of the watermen's group, said Friday that the grant allowed the fish house to finally take ownership of the building and put it safely in the group's hands.
But Payne said the fish house now has to find the money to repair the building and improve the business. She said $175,000 is needed for updated equipment and a new Web site, among other improvements.
Payne hopes that under the state Waterfront Access Study Committee's recommendations, money will be made available to help the fish house.
"Now that it's there, there is relief; it's security," she said. "Now it's time to move on to renovation."