Thursday, February 27, 2020


Oysters Destroyed by Thousands of Bushels Through Negligence of Inspectors

Belhaven (Beaufort County), N. C., Jan. 26
Correspondence of The Morning Post.

     Oysters plentiful, ten thousand bushels per day or more, but a great many under-sized and not culled. Two or three inspectors here, but they never have inspected yet, or it is so stated by the packers, and the cull law is ignored altogether. Your correspondent heard a man say that he had been in the oyster business here and at other places in the State eight years, and that he would take an oath that no inspector had ever inspected a bushel of oysters at his place of business, nor proposed to inspect any; but, on the contrary, he had asked the chief inspector to examine some at one time, for his own protection, and that he had only laughed at him, saying it was only a trick the boatman had played to get them off on him.
“Oyster pirates” are depicted dredging at night. Image: From “The Oyster War in Chesapeake Bay,” Harper’s Weekly, March 1, 1884; Library of Congress

     Other oyster men who are here in the business make similar statements as to the inspectors not doing their duty. This negligence of duty is chargeable to former inspectors also, two or three of theses at this place drawing pay, and if they ever earn a cent in the interest of the state it is yet to be known.
Men gather oysters using tongs and “under difficulties.” Image: From Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, February 8, 1879; Library of Congress
     Unless something be done to enforce the cull law the oysters in Pamlico Sound will be destroyed. The bottom of the sound is being scraped of small oysters, as well as the large, and carried away regardless of law, only to be destroyed, as they are entirely too small for shucking at a profit, and thousands of bushels of these are simply being cast aside. What a shocking waste! What wanton destruction!
[The Morning Post (Raleigh, NC) 28 Jan 1900]

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