Varnamtown 8

Posted by Amy Norton on


It has been a crazy 3 weeks and I apologize for the break in the news letter.  I spent 4 days in Varnamtown painting and talking to new friends about the future of Varnamtown.  Things are changing and there is some debate as to whether they will be beneficial or harmful in the long run.  Several city projects are being considered and I will try to keep you up to date as they become public.

My time at the coast is always inspiring.  I sat on the dock for several days and painted watercolors, some of which will be included in the project. It was time for reflection as well as artistic endeavor.  I returned to the studio feeling both refreshed but also more clearly grasping the plight of our fishing communities. Sometimes when I look at the number of boats that are no longer used it is hard not to be a bit discouraged.  Keeping a boat  ship shape is a good deal easier and more cost effective than trying to bring to refurbish one.  Basically the boats deteriorate quickly when from lack of use when not regularly being used for fishing. We’ve all run across that abandoned house in the woods or a neighborhood.  Fun to explore but generally in rough shape…  Just like that house that no one calls home, these abandoned boats begin to fall apart…except there is water trying to creep in at every crevice!  When I look through the windows of these boats I can almost see the ghosts of the skippers and seamen that toiled and played hard.




One of the last of the three larger shrimping boats still working out of Varnamtown has been sold.  It is moving on to a new home in Sneads Ferry NC. Luckily she is still working bring fresh wild shrimp to NC!  That leaves High Rider and Morning Light as the only big boats still working out of Varnamtown. However Scorpion is looking to start shrimping again. Presently High Rider  is in South Carolina and Georgia shrimping.  The shrimping season opens there first.   Next they will be working up on the Pamlico Sound and will be working at home around August.  This makes for a lot of time during the spring,  summer and fall away from home sometimes being out 3 or 4 weeks at a time.  This is one of the things that makes the fishing life a tough one for fisherman and family alike.


Brunswick Catch

Brunswick Catch

While I was in Varnamtown I was able to go to the Annual Brunswick Catch Meeting at the Inlet View Bar & Grill in Shallotte, NC. (Great place, check them out).  We talked about upcoming events that promote local wild caught seafood and help the local fishermen that stake their livelihood  on the sea.  Environmental concerns are also discussed as they are uniquely equipped to understand its importance.  Fishermen are passionate in working to protect our seafood for future generations.

What is Brunswick Catch?

When you see Brunswick Catch on a seafood market sign or a seafood restaurant menu you can be assured that you are buying high quality local seafood caught by Brunswick County fishermen.  We are a group of fishermen, seafood dealers and retailers, restaurant owners, and supporters of the local fishing industry who have joined together to brand Brunswick County seafood as Brunswick Catch.
Where may we buy local seafood?
The following seafood retailers and wholesalers are members of Brunswick Catch and proudly display our Brunswick Catch logo on a flag or a sign at their business.  They certify that they will label only local seafood as Brunswick Catch. Just click on the link below to see a full list of our members who sell fresh local seafood.Dealers and Retailers
Where may we eat local seafood?
The following restaurants are members of Brunswick Catch and proudly display our Brunswick Catch logo on a flag or a sign at their business.  They certify that all local seafood they serve will be labeled Brunswick Catch.Just click on the link below to see a full list of Member Restaurants.Restaurants

Coming to Durham

This will be a great opportunity to hear what is going on at the  NC coast and have a great dinner supplied by our own “Salt Box Seafood”!

I will be there to give props for Durham and Brunswick Catch

On June 6, Greenberg will speak at The Rickhouse

Fish to Fork: An Evening Focused on North Carolina’s Local Seafood Featuring  Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood, June 6 in Durham

​Program to Feature Lecture, Panel Discussion, and Sustainable Fish Fry

The US controls more ocean than any other country on earth.  And yet, more than 85% of the seafood we eat is imported. Why?
​To answer that question, please join Farm to Fork and distinguished guest Paul Greenberg, author of The New York Times best-selling book Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild FoodFour Fish won the James Beard Award in 2011 and was the basis for a Time Magazine cover story.  Greenberg’s latest book, American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood, makes the case for why Americans should eat more American seafood and explains how American fisheries are sustainably managed.

On June 6, Greenberg will speak at The Rickhouse in Durham about the state of the fishing industry in the United States, how importing and exporting impacts consumers and economics, and the importance of protecting our waterways.

Following Greenberg’s talk, it will get real and local with a dynamic panel of North Carolina seafood industry experts who will discuss how supporting local seafood impacts our environment, our economy and our health. You’ll hear firsthand accounts of how our state’s waters are sustainably managed and you’ll learn about different fishing techniques and efforts to reduce bycatch. You’ll hear about the potential risks of eating rarely-inspected, imported seafood and you’ll learn about North Carolina’s small scale, family fishing operations, a vast departure from the industrial, factory fishing fleets you may have heard about.

After the panel, Greenberg will sign books (American Catch will officially be released on June 9) and there will be a traditional, sustainable fish fry prepared by two chefs known for their commitment to local seafood: Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint and James Clark of The Carolina Inn.

The panel will feature Greenberg and the following local experts:

  • Jon Haag is the owner/operator of Haag and Sons Seafood in Oak Island and a board member of NC Catch who has been in the retail and wholesale seafood business for over 30 years.
  • Barbara Garrity-Blake is a cultural anthropologist who authored The Fish Factory, co-authored Fish House Opera, and organized Raising the Story of Menhaden Fishing(and oral history project) with the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center. She is also on the advisory board for North Carolina Sea Grant and a former member of the NC Marine Fisheries Commission.
  • Pam Morris is a founding member and the current president of Carteret Catch and works at the Core Sound Waterfowl and Heritage Museum in Harkers Island.
  • Bradley Styron is the owner/operator of Quality Seafood and former member of the NC Marine Fisheries Commission.
  • Eddie Willis is a fourth generation fisherman, owner/operator of Mr. Big Seafood and founder of one of the first community supported fishery (CSF) organizations in North Carolina, Core Sound Seafood.


John Day will moderate this fantastic panel of NC seafood industry experts. He is the Vice President of NC Catch and works for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems to help cultivate stronger markets for local seafood in statewide supply chains.


For more information, to purchase tickets, or to become a sponsor, visit the Farm to Fork website!

Here I am with the new painting “Lockwood Folly Mist” almost finished.  Baring unforeseen problems, I will finish  this week and include photos in the next news letter.

Well this is enough or maybe too much for today so I hope to talk with you next week.  Have a wonderful week and get to our coast when you can. 





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