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One of the underlying goals of the CSF is to provide a narrative about the seafood you receive. Describing the process – how seafood gets from boat to fork – is an important part of this goal, as it adds transparency and meaning to the concept of "local."

In 2011 Walking Fish became a cooperative. The cooperative is one of the first of its kind in the United States and it reflects the group's hardwork and commitment to long-term viability. Without the support and generosity of the community - both in Durham and on the coast - the cooperative would not have been feasible.




Paul Russel


PAUL RUSSEL - Fisherman

Beaufort, North Carolina

Paul Russell provided the clams for the Walking Fish CSF shares.  Paul has 14.29 acres of bottomland that he manages for clam harvest.  He has three leases, one his father bought in 1961, one he bought in the late nineties, and another he leases from the state.  Paul re-seeds his leases twice a year, which allows him to harvest nearly all year.  Stormwater runoff, created during rain events, can force Paul to close his leases until the water quality returns to a suitable level.  The water near Paul's leases is sampled by the Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section after storm events and tested for bacteria.  He has seen the number of shellfish harvest closures increase throughout his career.

If his leases are closed, Paul will harvest wild clams from the shores of Shackleford Banks or other estuarine areas near Beaufort that he knows are productive.  The pictures below were taken in August on one of his harvest trips to Shackleford Banks.  On this trip we collected 200 clams, which is a small harvest.  Knowing where to go to find the clams, especially the right size clams, was Paul's response when I asked him "What is the hardest thing about being a clammer?"  When I asked him what was the best part about being a clammer, Paul listed being outside and being self-sufficient as reasons. 

You may recognize Paul from the CSF pick-ups, because he is also the driver of the refrigerated truck that delivers our CSF seafood.

Mark Hooper

MARK HOOPER- Fisherman

Smyrna, North Carolina

Mark Hooper has fished commercially since 1974. Mark lives in Symrna on Core Sound with his wife, Penny. Together they operate, Hooper Family Seafood. Mark catches hard crabs in the early spring and fall and concentrates on catching peeler crabs and shedding soft crabs from March until early May. Throughout the year, but primarily during the summer, he harvests farm raised clams. Mark works a 1.6 acre lease in front of his house; seed clams are generally planted in the fall of each year. In the past, Mark has channel netted shrimp, gigged and gill netted flounder, caught bay scallops, and grown farm raised oysters. Mark has been actively involved in fishery management issues serving on a variety of stakeholder groups and committees. He is currently serving on the group tasked with revising the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan.



Debbie Callaway

DEBBIE CALLAWAY- CSF Coordinator / Board of Directors

Beaufort, North Carolina

Debra is a founding Board Member of the Walking Fish Cooperative, playing a pivotal role in the formation and stability of the organization.  A lifelong resident of Carteret County, North Carolina, she has close ties to the commercial fishing industry her entire life.  Debra's grandfather was a clammer and worked on a menhaden fishing boat. Her husband was a prominent and well-respected seafood business owner for more than 20 years. Debra's strong ties to the local fishing heritage, organizational skills, and knack for communicating with the cooperative's growing customer base, makes her a quiet leader. Debra holds an associate degree in Web Technology from a local community college and had always had an interest in arts and crafts. When she is not coordinating deliveries or responding to the CSF members' many thoughts and questions, she enjoys kayaking, crabbing and fishing on the North River. She is married and has two daughters, three grandchildren and an array of pets. She is in constant pursuit of new seafood recipes for CSF members and her family.

Vince Emory

VINCE EMORY - Fisherman

Cedar Island, North Carolina

A fourth generation commercial fisherman, Vince Emory returned to work in the fishing industry after receiving a degree from UNC at Chapel Hill. His father accompanies him on most of his fishing trips in the waters of Cedar Island and Pamlico Sound. Vince provides members with flounder, jumping mullet, sheepshead, and a variety of other species.

Buddy Goodwin


Cedar Island, North Carolina

Buddy Goodwin graduated from East Carteret High School in Beaufort and has been fishing ever since. He lives on Cedar Island with his wife and two children. Buddy mainly fishes with pound and gill nets. He also crabs in the unspoiled waters around Cedar Island. In the winter when the fishing slows down, he enjoys duck hunting.

Wells Barker

WELLS BARKER - Fisherman

Beaufort, North Carolina

Wells Barker is a retired high school teacher with an infectious laugh and a good sense of humor. He hook-and-line fishes for grouper, triggerfish, and other bottomfish when the weather is good and the federal fisheries are open. He uses a motorized reel that looks easy, but is deceptively tricky to operate – especially when there's a keeper on the line. Bobbing twenty-five miles off-shore, all sorts of marine life cruises around his boat, including: Wilson's storm petrels, houndfish, flying fish, Albacore tuna, bottlenose dolphins, tiger sharks, and barracuda.



Jay and wife, Jennifer

JAY STYRON - Fisherman

Cedar Island, North Carolina

Jay Styron, owns a small, family owned oyster farm in Cedar Island, NC (about 30 miles NE of Beaufort). The oysters are grown in suspended cages rather than on the bottom so they are far cleaner than other oysters.

Jay Styron is the assistant director of marine operations at the Center for Marine Science at UNC Wilmington as well as president of the North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association.



Aron Styron Jr. (above) Phillip Styron (right)



Cedar Island, North Carolina

The Styron family has a long history of commercial fishing in Cedar Island, NC.  The family has lived in Cedar Island for hundreds of years and has historically been supported by fishing.  Aron Styron Jr. and his son, Aron Styron III, are the most recent members of the family to fish in the Pamlico Sound.

During the fall, the Styrons fish using pound nets.  Pound netting involves using a long series of nets to guide fish into an enclosure which then directs fish into a net that fishermen pull into their boats to collect the fish.  The Styrons set-up their pound nets in September and fish until the end of November or December. The gear and techniques they use have been passed down through their family and they add new gear and nets when necessary. Pound nets are an efficient method for catching bottom-dwelling fish such as flounder.

The species of fish that the Styrons catch depends on the time of year and weather, but flounder is the most common fish to catch in a pound net.  The Styrons have provided flounder and black drum for the CSF.  Phillip Styron, who is another Cedar Island native, fishes with Aron Jr. and Aron III.  The pictures below were taken while the Styrons were fishing for flounder.


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