William Chadwick, son of Chris and Kathryn Chadwick of Stacy, took first place at the NCTSA conference in Greensboro on April 5, 2017. William's speech focused on the regulations being placed on fishermen which will be detrimental to their ability to provide fresh, local seafood.
Richard Coffey, PLTW teacher at Down East Middle School, was instrumental in preparing these students for this competition. Other Down East students receiving awards were Christian Gillikin, Daylen Piner, and Ellie Fulcher took second place with the tech bowl in the state.
Below is William's speech and congratulations for representing Down East in such an outstanding manner!
Defining our Future TSA 2017
By William Chadwick
As I was growing up in a Down East fishing community, commercial fishing was king, and most young men were striving to be the best fisherman in Core and Pamlico Sounds. These sounds are the same sounds John White illustrated in 1585, with Indians fishing nets, and I can trace my ancestors back to the late 1700’s being fisherman. Fast forward to the twenty first century and with all the new laws that have been put into place, that dream is no longer a reality for young people in my community.
My great-grandfather William E. Smith Sr. was a second generation fish dealer. He, like his father, ran a family owned seafood business in the Atlantic community of Down East Carteret County. Starting with a handful of trawlers and a fish house by the name of Luther Smith and Son Seafood, this business became a symbol of small business and servitude towards its town, citizens could depend on the financial security to pay their bills and put food on their tables, just as their ancestors before them did. In time the business expanded to Beaufort, with deeper waters, and a deep water inlet nearby which provided access for larger boats to unload their catch, and a place to ride out harsh storms. My grandfather William Smith Jr., ran the Beaufort fish house and started building a fleet of steel trawlers with the help of Tinker Wallace, a talented craftsman of steel vessels.
Upon the passing of my grandfather in 1991 and later my great-grandfather from a fishing accident in 1996, things were starting to change. About this time the dynamics of the North Carolina fisheries started changing. All kinds of new regulations were placed on the fisheries and the fisherman; this was the start of a downward trend in the number of fishermen and vessels working in the industry.
My mother often talks about teenage boys in the 1980’s making enough money in two summers on a shrimp boat to buy a car when they turned sixteen. All of the Down East communities were thriving at this time with many successful businesses.
What happened you ask? Mainly government regulations! Conservation groups have shut down industries and put so many regulations on the seafood industry that fisherman have been forced out of work. Many fishermen are having a hard time providing for their families in our Down East communities. It is sad when restaurants on the Crystal Coast are buying shrimp from Asian countries, that have been fed products containing fecal matter, and are injected with chemicals and preservatives that have been banned is this country for years. Why do you think this would happen? Because it is “cheaper”. Unfortunately, many tourists do not know the difference between local and imported shrimp, which is really sad.
Many people are moving away from Down East because our once thriving communities are no longer thriving. When people move away it hurts our schools, businesses, and churches. I know it has hurt my former school Atlantic Elementary, and my church. If regulations continue as they have, I do not know what the future will hold for Down East. People being put out of work has a trickledown effect on everything. Defining my future means saving the commercial fishing industry and the community that I live in from the oppression of the government and its laws.
How am I going to do this you ask? Education and information, I want to educate people on the difference in cheap imported unhealthy seafood and fresh local chemical free seafood. Did you know only two percent of imported seafood is inspected by the FDA. These foreign shrimp farms have been linked to slave labor and are thought to harm the environment. I want to inform every citizen in our state that they are stakeholders of our waters and need their voice heard in Raleigh.
Right now, there are people in our state who are trying to implement new rules on shrimping, that could have catastrophic effects on our local economy and the seafood industry. Where do these people think their seafood is going to come from? Not everyone lives on the coast and if they do, has the means to go out and catch their own seafood. These waters are public trust and all the citizens of North Carolina should be able to have seafood harvested from them. What will happen to the pristine waters of Pamlico Sound if a trawler cannot turn over the bottom? It will die and the seafood will die with it. Join me in helping educate and inform every North Carolinian of the fresh local seafood in our pristine sounds. If everyone said NO to the chemical laden imported seafood, and demanded fresh local seafood everyone would win, and my Down East communities could hopefully thrive once again.