North Carolina has over 4,000 miles of shoreline and 2.5 million acres of marine and estuarine waters where crustaceans, shellfish, and finfish.

Commercial fishing has been a traditional occupation in North Carolina for centuries. Fishermen harvest state managed species inshore as well as participating in federal fisheries in offshore areas. The most valuable species harvested in the state are blue crabs, shrimp, Atlantic croaker, and flounder.

Hard shell blue crabs are caught using wire crab pots which are baited with local fish or other durable baits. Shedder (peeler) crabs are also harvested and held until they molt into soft-shelled crabs.

Shrimp is the second most valuable species, both in pounds and in value. Shrimp fisheries target four species: white, pink, brown, and rock shrimp. Most shrimping occurs in sounds and other estuaries. Shrimp are harvested with otter trawls, skimmer trawls, and by cast-netting.

North Carolina inshore commercial fishermen harvest redfish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, flounder, striped bass, croaker, speckled trout, gray trout, spot, cobia, and other fish. Inshore shellfish harvests include shrimp, blue crabs, stone crabs, bay scallops, clams, oysters, and other seafood.

Ocean seafood comes to port in North Carolina including hundreds of types of fish, shellfish and other seafood items. North Carolina is known for its pelagic fisheries, including tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, king mackerel, swordfish, sharks, and others. The deeper waters produce snapper, grouper, black sea bass, tilefish, triggerfish, and other bottom dwelling fish.

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