New research considers the impact of commercial fisheries on North Carolina's economy

Thanks to a new, collaborative research project from faculty at Appalachian State University, Duke University, NC State University and the University of North Carolina Wilmington, we now know the impact of North Carolina's wild-caught commercial seafood industry on the state's economy.

The industry provides nearly $300 million in economic impact and 5,500 jobs in the North Carolina. While the largest impacts occur in the harvesting sector along the coast, the industry also includes the seafood preparation and wholesaling, retail and restaurant sectors. 

The research is part of a North Carolina Sea Grant project, funded by the N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Grant Program. The researchers are: Jane Harrison, Coastal Economics Specialist, North Carolina Sea Grant; Barry Nash, Seafood Technology and Marketing Specialist, North Carolina Sea Grant; Eric Edwards, Agricultural and Resource Economics, NC State University; Chris Dumas, Department of Environmental Sciences, UNC-Wilmington; Sara Sutherland, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; and John Whitehead, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.

The team surveyed 1,600 North Carolina residents to learn about their seafood eating habits, the potential demand for N.C. seafood, and people’s willingness to pay for N.C. seafood. In addition to the economic impact of the industry, the researchers also found that demand for seafood is strong, with North Carolinians willing to pay more for local fare over foreign products.

For project highlights, as well as formal reports and methodology, visit

About Appalachian's Department of Economics

Appalachian's Department of Economics ranks #1 in research among all regional universities in the south and ranks among the top 100 of all U.S. economics departments. The department is particularly strong in the fields of environmental and natural resource economics, and our research has local, national, and global impact. For more information, visit

About Faculty Research in the Walker College of Business

Walker College of Business faculty produce and disseminate extensive research through both academic and professional communities. In the last five years, faculty members have published approximately 400 peer-reviewed academic journal articles, 130 conference proceedings and made more than 400 conference and professional presentations in 170 different venues. In total, the faculty has produced more than 700 individual intellectual contributions in basic discovery research, more than 400 contributions in applied or integrative research and 240 contributions in teaching and learning research. For more information, visit

The sun sets on shrimp and fishing boats dock along Raccoon Creek in Oriental.
Published: Mar 18, 2021 8:50am