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Wanchese-Stumpy Point, NC

The village of Wanchese is located on Roanoke Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,642 covering an area of 5.5 square miles. The island is famous as the site of the first attempt at European settlement in the New World. In the late 1550s, the settlement disappeared without a trace, and became known as the Lost Colony. Today Wanchese is advertised to tourists as a quaint fishing village where visitors can watch the fish come in to port and be shipped around the world.

Celebrating Fishing

The Dare County Parks and Recreation Department runs a fishing school for children during the summer months, as well as a fishing tournament for children. The North Carolina Maritime Museum on Roanoke Island (in neighboring Manteo) is dedicated to the region’s maritime history, and includes exhibits on early commercial shad fishing and an old shad fishing vessel.

Recreational Fisheries

Recreational fishing is a billion dollar industry in North Carolina. The Outer Banks area, which includes Roanoke Island and Wanchese, is known as “the billfish capital of the world.” The neighboring town of Manteo, also on Roanoke Island, has a marina that hosts a number of billfish and other sportfishing tournaments throughout the year. The Broad Creek Fishing Center, located within the NC Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park, is a full service marina for the sportfishing industry, which sells fishing gear and bait and also houses a number of charter vessels. Many additional charter vessels are also docked at the Thicket Lump Marina, which includes a bait and tackle shop. There is one public boat ramp in Wanchese, which is operated by Dare County.

Commercial Fisheries

Wanchese has a diversified fishing industry, based on the large number of species landed. Fishing operations here readily switch gear to target different species depending on availability and market demand. Gear and vessel types used include longline, scallop dredge, gillnet, otter trawl, and crab pot. The Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park houses a number of businesses, many of which are related to fishing or other marine industries and are family-run operations, including O’Neals Sea Harvest. It is the only federal, state and county-financed project devoted entirely to the seafood processing and fishing industries.

Additional seafood businesses operate in the area outside of the Seafood Industrial Park providing processing, packing, and distribution services. A number of advocacy and administrative groups operate in and around Wanchese. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries has an active field office on Harbor Road in Wanchese, within the NC Seafood Industrial Park. The North Carolina Fisheries Association has been supporting fishing families here since 1952, with the goal “to celebrate and preserve commercial fishing families, heritage, and seafood” in North Carolina. This is achieved through lobbying federal, state, and local legislators and through public awareness projects. Several members of the Board of Directors are from Wanchese.

Top species harvested in port: blue crab, Atlantic croaker, summer flounder, scup, black sea bass.