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North Carolina Seafood Trail aims to honor Black people in the industry

Thomas Mitchell, a crabber who owns Cedar Grove Seafood, shows off a blue crab from that morning's catch, at his business on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021.
Rebecca Blackwell
Submitted Image
John Mallette, a Black commercial fisherman in Jacksonville, holds a large fish he caught.

A local non-profit is partnering with researchers to recognize Black people in the seafood industry through a traveling exhibit. The North Carolina Black Seafood Trail project will include video and oral history narratives featuring Black chefs, anglers and wholesalers.

John Mallette catches a large fish.
John Mallette
Submitted Image
John Mallette, a Black commercial fisherman based in Jacksonville, North Carolina, shows off a large fish.

The $25,000 project is being led by NC Catch, a nonprofit that promotes buying local seafood. It's funded by the North Carolina Sea Grant, which provides funds for science and coastal research across the state.

John Mallette — a Black commercial fisherman in Jacksonville, who is a part of the project — said it’s important to teach Black people what’s available to them.

“There's little to no education put towards [the] African American community about eating clean and being able to grow your own food or things like that, concerning seafood,” Mallette said.

The trail is expected to highlight certain historic cities and towns including Topsail Island, Sneads Ferry and Ocean City Beach. Mallette said potential stops could also include colleges and universities.

The NC Black Seafood Trail is expected to roll out in spring of next year.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.