BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) – The North Carolina seafood industry, while hauled in more $14 million for Carteret County alone, was one of many impacted by Hurricane Matthew. But after the storm passed, it seems like catches may have improved for Carteret County fishermen.
“Seems like the catch has increased after the hurricane,” said Jimmy Philips, a fisherman who also said he has seen the size of shellfish increase.
Fisherman Matthew Littleton said he has seen the size of trout increase as well.
“Seems like you’re not catching anything less than 18- to 20-inch trout, and that’s really what everybody’s after,” said Littleton. “After a small season like last year, it seems like the numbers are bigger. Most all of your fish are going to be keeper-size trout and then larger fish on top of that.”
NC Division of Marine Fisheries’ Patricia Smith said they have recently reopened waterways for shellfishing after closing them due to Matthew.
“Whenever we have large rainfalls, it tends to wash in bacterial materials, and we don’t want to have people shellfishing…until the waters are able to clean out,” Smith said.
Along the North Carolina coast, fishermen are back to business as usual, saying they’re grateful for the excessive rainfall totals.
“Just get out and fish,” said Littleton. ”That’s the best thing you can do. Can’t let a storm deter you.”