Establishing community and business partnerships to build a market identity for local seafood

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2006: $9,950.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Jennifer Ulz
Carteret Community College

Annual Reports


  • Animals: fish, shellfish


  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, focus group, networking, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, marketing management, market study, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation

    Proposal abstract:

    Commercial fishing has been an integral part of Carteret County’s heritage and economy for nearly 400 years. By supplying a variety of fresh seafood to local residents and major East Coast cities, fishermen of the central North Carolina coast satisfied a strong demand for quality, seasonal seafood – and could earn a sustainable living doing so. Over the last decade, lower-cost, imported commodities have displaced domestic seafood in many commercial markets. Today 80 percent of the seafood Americans consume is imported. Yet a consumer trend toward purchasing fresh, local food products has been gaining momentum since 2000. An informal survey conducted at the 2005 North Carolina Seafood Festival indicated that a majority of respondents would purchase local seafood over imports if given a choice. Thus local citizens organized to help Carteret County’s fishing industry to adapt to a global market. With funding from the Ford Foundation and the Southern Rural Development Center, community volunteers established a program to create a market identity for locally harvested seafood. The Carteret Catch mission is to sustain the livelihood and heritage of the Carteret County commercial fishing industry through education and promotion. A joint venture between the county’s seafood industry and its customers will promote seasonal seafood caught by local fishermen. The Carteret Catch brand is the public’s assurance they are getting seafood direct from the fishermen of Carteret County. The objective of this project is to enhance public recognition of the Carteret Catch logo to build a strong market identity for local seafood products. This proposal seeks funding to generate promotional materials for the program’s business partners and advertisements in local media to build greater consumer awareness of Carteret Catch.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1) Display the Carteret Catch logo prominently at restaurants and seafood retail stores using static window decals and flags
    2) Advertise in local papers during the season (Memorial Day through Labor Day) to inform county residents about Carteret Catch and the businesses that are participating in the program
    3) Position 8.5 x 5.5 postcard-size brochures about the Carteret Catch program at the counters of restaurants and retail stores. The postcard prominently features the program’s website where more detailed advertising information can be posted at a minimal cost
    4) Randomly mail 8.5 x 5.5 postcard-size brochures to select number of county residents at the start of the 2007 and 2008 season to elevate awareness of the brand and encourage people to patronize the program business partners
    5) Display Seafood Availability Charts measuring 34 inches x 11 inches at retail stores to tell consumers when local seafood is in-season (An 8.5 x 5.5 version of the chart will be developed as a menu insert so more people are exposed to the seasonality of local seafood products)
    6) Staff a booth at two major public events - the NC Seafood Festival (first weekend of October) and the Core Sound Waterfowl Festival (first weekend in December) – to distribute Carteret Catch promotional literature to the public

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.