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Got To Be NC Catch…not really

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Rick View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 August 2021 at 10:19pm

https://www.wral.com/got-to-be-nc-no...rant/19812701/

Got to be NC? Not necessarily at State Farmers Market seafood restaurant
Anyone who wanders the State Farmers Market in Raleigh usually hears the refrain that sellers are providing North Carolina-grown produce and other goods.

"I would say maybe 90 percent ask where it's from and where we grow it. They really care about where it's coming from and supporting local," said Morgan Naylor, from NaylorFamily Farm in Harnett County.

The N.C. Seafood Restaurant in the State Farmers Market, known for its big helpings of Calabash-style fish and shrimp, displays a big "Got To Be NC Seafood" seal. But WRAL Investigates found that to be misleading.

After receiving a tip that the restaurant wasn't selling North Carolina seafood, a news crew checked it out. When asked if the all of the fish served there was from North Carolina, a cashier responded, "Yes, it's fresh from the coast."

But through supplier tips and surveillance of deliveries, WRAL Investigates found that's simply not the case for a lot of the seafood sold at the restaurant.



Shrimp boxes that were tossed into dumpsters were labeled "India" and "South America," and flounder and cod were from China. There were empty catfish boxes from a North Carolina catfish farm.

N.C. Seafood Restaurant owner and operator Kemp Pendergrass refused to talk with WRAL Investigates about its findings.

"I'll never do a story with WRAL – never," Pendergrass said.

Despite be given repeated opportunities to present his side, he only threatened legal action: "I would just tell you if you say anything negative, I'll sue you."

Customers said they were disappointed, noting that they assumed the seafood at the restaurant was actually from North Carolina.

"You would think it would be from here, yes," said Judy Shipp, a regular at the N.C. Seafood Restaurant, along with her husband.

Despite the expectations, imported seafood is very common in North Carolina restaurants because it's cheaper. There is no requirement to sell local in the State Farmers Market's lease with the restaurant. The lease, obtained from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, mentions only selling "quality" products.

Some customers said they weren't concerned if seafood was foreign as long as the restaurant was transparent about it.



Several days after WRAL Investigates tried to interview Pendergrass, the restaurant posted the following message on Facebook:

"We always try our best to source local seafood, but with current conditions and to ensure we can always serve our loyal customers, we are having to source seafood outside of NC. We always want to be transparent with our customers ..."

The timing of that transparency is in question, however. The restaurant's website mentioned "local seafood" and "from the coast" until recently. The wording was changed to remove the local references after WRAL Investigates approached the owner.

Locals Seafood, which is also located at the State Farmer's Market, isn't affiliated with the restaurant. In a previous WRAL Investigates story about where seafood comes from at area markets, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study endorsed Locals Seafood as a seller of local seafood based on DNA testing of fish samples.https://www.wral.com/got-to-be-nc-not-necessarily-at-state-farmers-market-seafood-restaurant/19812701/
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NC Fisheries Management- Motto: Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad   Slogan: Shrimp On! Mission Statement: Enable Commercial Fishing At Any and All Cost, Regardless of Impact to the Resource.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrackishWater Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 August 2021 at 9:14am
The NC seafood industry is spending millions of dollars on ads to promote local NC seafood when the reality is the consumer demand for seafood cannot be met by local, wild-caught seafood alone even if everything caught in NC waters stayed in NC - which it does not. It has to be supplemented with imports and farm raised seafood and most consumers understand this - they just want to be told the truth about where the seafood they are purchasing and consuming came from. Then they can make an informed decision when choosing to purchase seafood in a market or restaurant.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chriselk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 August 2021 at 1:42pm
https://deq.nc.gov/news/press-releases/2021/07/23/north-carolina-commercial-fishermen-landed-less-seafood-2020


MOREHEAD CITY

Commercial fishermen sold 42.9 million pounds of fish and shellfish to North Carolina seafood dealers in 2020,

--------

Since per capita seafood consumption is 15 lb a year, and there are 10 million NC residents, the NC demand is about 150 million lbs a year.

Do the math. And remember some unknown amount is shipped out. (Shouldn't we know the fate of our public trust resource?)

I do not fault fish dealers for shipping seafood elsewhere because they can get a better price there.  But to say they are supplying NC citizens with fresh NC seafood is just another falsehood.  The overwhelming percentage of seafood consumed in NC, and in the other 49 states, is imported (ca 90%).

The above comments are my personal opinion and do not represent those of any organizations or agencies I may be a member of.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Glacierbaze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2021 at 12:36pm
Check my math.

Avg comsumption = 15lbs
Avg imports          =90%
Imported consumption = 13.5lbs
NC catch consumed  = 1.5lbs
1.5lbs X 10M people    =15M lbs NC catch consumed in state
42.9 - 15M = 27.9 Million lbs of NC catch exported

I agree, and have said before, that our public resources harvested and sold should be accounted for.
We need trip tickets for the trucks leaving the dealer, as well as for the boats arriving at the dock.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2021 at 4:49pm
It's called interstate commerce and it's federally regulated.  You can't prohibit it or unfairly control it.

What we need is true fisheries reform with sustainable management that includes bycatch and habitat data...or just plain common sense where data is poor and erring on the side of conservation.   The resource needs to be managed for what it is, a public trust.  

...but the ruse that the NCFA is selling that the eating public deserves its right to the public trust resource, with the NC commercial fisherman providing that service, needs to be clearly refuted.  That job starts with the division honestly addressing the facts. 


Edited by Rick - 10 August 2021 at 4:56pm
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NC Fisheries Management- Motto: Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad   Slogan: Shrimp On! Mission Statement: Enable Commercial Fishing At Any and All Cost, Regardless of Impact to the Resource.
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