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NC State Seafood Laboratory

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Our Mission

To conduct applied research and extend science-based information to seafood stakeholders in North Carolina, nationally, and internationally.

Seafood Science is at the core of research conducted at the NC State Seafood Laboratory. Scientists and staff work to provide solutions for the seafood industry in product safety, processing technology and value-added products utilizing fresh- or salt-water fish and shellfish.

Our Beginnings

Black and white photo of people working in lab.

From left to right: Sam Thomas, Joyce Taylor and Dr. Frank Thomas at work in the first seafood lab. ca 1970

The history of the Seafood Laboratory runs deep in Carteret County along North Carolina’s coast, beginning in the early 1960s with NC State food scientist Dr. Frank Bancroft Thomas. As the first seafood extension specialist for the then Department of Food Science, Thomas wanted to put food science expertise in the hands of those who needed it most—members of the seafood industry in coastal North Carolina.

Dr. Thomas worked collaboratively with state, industry and institutional partners including UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, NC Division of Marine Fisheries and NC Sea Grant, to help establish the program.

Working with technical and industry advisors, Thomas was awarded the lab’s first funding—an extension service project grant entitled “Carteret County Seafood Processing Project.” Over time the number of projects grew, as the seafood industry was evolving, and so the foundation for the Seafood Laboratory was laid. By positioning the lab along the coast of Carteret County, Thomas helped forge a partnership between academics and the seafood industry that continues to thrive.

Seafood Extension Specialist and Professor Emeritus Dr. David P. Green was the director of the Seafood Laboratory until 2016.


CMAST building along waterfrontThe Seafood Laboratory is located within NC State’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) located along North Carolina’s central coast adjacent to Bogue Sound in Morehead City. The nearly 50-year-old program is part of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences which continues to represent NC State’s long-standing commitment to the seafood industry.

Laboratory staff provides solutions for the industry in product safety, processing technology and value-added products utilizing fresh- or salt-water fish and shellfish. The following are just some of the services offered.

  • Training in Seafood HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) and Sanitation Control Procedures (SCP)
  • Technical services for process validations, equipment verifications and product shelf-life determinations
  • Lab facilities include a food processing pilot plant, product development test kitchen, and analytical laboratory, available for research and testing on a fee-for-service basis

Seafood Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor Alex Chouljenko is now the director of the Seafood Laboratory. Funding is provided by grants and contracts, service agreements, workshops, cost-recovery services, and industry and private support.