Currituck County debates ordinance change that could save the local crabbing industry

Crab fishermen are seeking a change in the law so they can operate legally in Currituck County even while neighbors complain of clutter, noises and smells. The change would solve an old problem for the county, where crab fishing is a mainstay and crab pots with plastic floats dot the rural waters. Common as it is, county ordinances have never accounted for the way most crab fishermen operate out of their homes, sometimes in small subdivisions with neighbors close by. Mostly it happens under the radar, with county inspectors opting not to cite watermen unless there are complaints. But in April, inspectors visited Wayne Burch’s growing crabbing business near Tulls Bay, south of Moyock. Someone had complained, and the inspectors cited Burch for violating 11 standards of the home business ordinance including outdoor storage, retail sales from the premises and creating traffic, noise and odor. In response, Burch’s friend, business partner and next door neighbor, Lauren Berry, began working with county staff on an ordinance amendment to make it legal for backyard crabbers to operate the way they always have. “Our current zoning laws do not allow for our heritage,” Berry said. “This is an industry we should protect.” Read the story here 13:47