Efforts Underway To Save Ocracoke Fish House

A salty mix of sea workers and their supporters are under the gun to raise 325-thousand dollars by June.

The money would allow them to continue their lease and save the last fish house at Ocracoke Island.

The houses provide commercial fishermen a place to unload, clean, and ice their catch before distributing it for sale. But fish houses have been disappearing as waterfront property is sold and converted into restaurants and housing.

The number of fish houses along the state's coast declined by 39 _ about a third _ from 2000-to-2006. A study found that 78 fish houses remained.

Along with declining harvests and rising costs, the local fishing industry has been challenged by government regulations and pollution.

A mix of crab potters, pound netters and charter boat operators formed a communal company last year called Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association. It fills the gap left when the last commercial fish house operator left Ocracoke.