The scientist and the fisherman

“I’ve been struck by lightning three times. I’ve been shot once, stabbed twice, had over a hundred broken bones, two strokes, three heart surgeries, and six other surgeries. I’ve got a stainless steel ankle, I’ve been married three times, I’ve got 13 kids, and you know what? This right here is the best adventure I’ve ever been on.”

David “Clammerhead” Cessna is a 55-year-old Carteret County fisherman. His “best adventure” began where many adventures do—at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City.

Cessna is combining his decades of knowledge with new science to produce a lot of homegrown North Carolina oysters. He and Niels Lindquist, a professor at the institute, have built structures that enable oyster communities to grow up instead of out. And just like with skyscrapers in a big city, these structures pack a larger population into a smaller space.

In two years, Lindquist believes, the technique could support a billion oysters. That’s good news for North Carolina’s troubled oyster populations, and the people who depend on them. The state’s coastline produced 1.8 million bushels of oysters in 1902, according to Lindquist. Today, only 5 percent of those oyster populations remain.

Read the complete Carolina Story…

Dr. Lindquist’s work is supported by Coastal Plantations International, Inc., as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, North Carolina Sea Grant and the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

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