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Welcome to Issue Three!

Thank you for signing up to receive this special newsletter. We hope you find it informative and that it enriches your experience of reading the five-part “Changing Tides” series. 
"Mark gets the shot."
Photo by Jack Igelman

Fishing adapts to warmer seas

The commercial industry for wild-caught seafood off the North Carolina coast faces challenges in adjusting to catch limits and other regulations. At best, it’s a volatile industry, impacted by the persistent forces of weather, the market, international competition and waterfront development.

Scientists are also alarmed by the volatility of a changing climate on fisheries, a trend observed over the last decade. It compliments the deep uncertainty that already envelopes the commercial fishing industry in North Carolina.

A changing climate not only impacts the income of commercial fishermen, but also what North Carolina consumers — who love to eat wild-caught fish — find on their menus, at farmers’ markets and on grocery shelves. Beyond the people in the boats, small communities along the coast depend on a thriving industry to support fishermen and the working waterfront.

Read more from story two, Commercial fishing in NC adapts to threat of warming seas

Read the full series

Meet the photographer: Mark Darrough

Mark Darrough is a Wilmington-based photojournalist and reporter. His award-winning work has been published by Carolina Public Press, The New York Times, BBC, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Associated Press, Denver Post, NBC News, ABC News, San Francisco Chronicle, and Wilmington’s Port City Daily, among others.

Referencing the influential ideas of 20th century French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, Darrough says, “My camera work is driven by a devotion to capturing ... Cartier-Bresson’s 'decisive moment' — where light, composition, color and gesture come together for a split second in time for the able photographer to be ready to capture. My reporting challenges me to keep accountable those in power, and to illuminate issues or certain aspects of society I think are important.”

A Q&A with Mark Darrough

How did you get into photography?
It all started when my mom offered a bribe as we were kayaking on Lake Lure: If I quit chewing tobacco, she’d buy the Nikon D80 I’d been saving up for the previous year. I was working part-time at a coffee shop while studying at Clemson, so it was an easy call. 

After college I flew to Rwanda to work for a nonprofit that was building schools near the volcanoes in the north and connecting American investors to Rwandan business opportunities. I quickly discovered the Nikon I had packed for the trip held my interest far more than my role as a business manager. After the nonprofit stint was up, I spent the next four years photographing everything from M23 rebels in the Congo bush to Liberian DEA officers burning a 1,000-kilogram mound of marijuana on a beach near the capital, Monrovia. (The head of Liberia’s presidential escort team was caught sneaking the stash across the border from Sierra Leone.)

Years later, photography still represents much more than a job. My camera acts as a token to explore places and people in a way that I could not without it.
Tell us about your work on the Changing Tides series … we hear you really got your feet wet on this one!
I did, and I loved every second of it. First off, working with a guy like Jack Igelman was a true pleasure. We are both Clemson graduates (although he attended much earlier – sorry, Jack) and lovers of the outdoors. Jack helped me figure out which photographs could best capture the impact of global climate change on the North Carolina coast. 

As the writer, Jack had the hard job. All I had to do was kayak, swim, poke my head around a fish market, and hang out on a commercial boat with my camera – which I’d do for fun, let alone for an important story like this one. 

Obviously, capturing great images was integral to this series. How did you go into this project with that in mind?
Before each assignment, I always think of light – where the sun is in relation to where I’ll be, what time of the day I’ll be shooting, how I can best utilize early morning and evening light, etc. cetera. I like to pull out maps and get a geographic familiarity with where I’ll be shooting. 

Jack compiled a great shot list, I went over one of his rough drafts, and we hit the road. I work best when I have a firm idea of what visuals best represent the story, but I also use a hippie approach to photojournalism: Get to wherever I’m going, make people feel comfortable when I get there, and chase good light and snoop around as much as possible.
Did the weather impact the shoots for this series at all? If so, how?
Weather affects every photographic assignment, and this one was no exception. Jack had connected with a commercial fisherman in Wanchese on the Outer Banks, but Captain Charlie was worried about two city slickers stuck on a boat miles from land, if we got hit by a summer storm. We made plans and canceled them, again made plans and canceled, based on the forecasts. Finally, Jack told Charlie we were heading north and don’t worry if a storm hits, we’ll tough it out. 

But luck was on our side. We spent 10 hours on Charlie’s boat sitting in the sunshine, hardly feeling a breeze.
What adjustments did you need to make to capture the shots you did while out on a commercial fishing vessel?
You have limited vantage points when shooting on a boat, so you have to climb and hang and, generally speaking, get used to shooting in awkward positions. Most of the day Charlie and his first mate, Cole, were fishing for amberjack near the old Diamond Shoals lighthouse, about 14 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras.  

I was getting good shots by hanging from the side of the boat, close enough to the water to feel like I was in the action. But you can only get so many of those shots; I needed a different angle. So I asked Charlie, “How dumb would it be to jump in so I can get a better view of y’all reeling up a fish?” 

Well, pretty dumb, he said. He and Cole both saw enough shark-bit fish on their lines to form their opinions. But Captain Charlie said there was a photographer in Virginia who took great shots while wading next to the boat, so that was enough for me. After mustering up some courage, I grabbed a life jacket, jumped in, and Jack handed down my camera. 

A few minutes later I climbed back onto the boat and Cole reeled up an amberjack with its body missing. Either a shark or a piranha got it, he told me, which made me glad I was back on the boat.

What was the easiest part of this assignment? The most difficult?
The easiest part of the assignment was the environment itself. Compared to a city council meeting with fluorescent lighting, the barrier islands and bays of North Carolina – and the characters we met along the way – made it difficult to mess up. 

The most difficult?
Waking up at 4 a.m. to meet Charlie at the dock.
What are some tips for photographing in the field with other reporters without getting in the way of their work, but to still get the shots that tell the story?
You’re there to photograph, the reporter’s there to ask questions. Focus on what you need and venture off on your own whenever possible. Also, don’t let your fear of "being in the way" make you a less bold photographer. It’s all about reading people well, understanding what generally annoys people, then going with your gut. If Captain Charlie advised me to not get in the water, I would’ve taken his advice. As the photographer, you never want to add stress and make the reporter’s job more difficult. 
What’s your secret to a great nature shot?
A hippie mindset is more helpful than anything. You have to take what nature gives you and go with the flow, camp out for as long as it takes, and embrace solitude. When I was taking pictures of the wild horses on Shackleford Banks last February, it took five days to get all that I wanted. But what a great five days. 
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
Henri Cartier-Bresson influenced me the most as I was becoming a photographer. Considered the father of photojournalism, Henri’s photos of street life in Paris and Hindu pilgrims in the Far East evoked the true magic of still photography. I came to understand what he meant when he wrote, "To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." He mastered his Leica camera in a way that it seemed an extension of his hand, and that is my ultimate goal. Robert Capa has also been a major influence. He joined an infantry division as it invaded Omaha Beach during D-Day. Thus his quote, which I take to heart every time I hold my camera: “If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
What’s your favorite equipment for shooting in the field?
My 50mm lens, which I sometimes refer to as my Michael Jordan lens. It’s fast and captures beautiful pictures in low light, and I don’t use anything else for portraiture. 

These two changes in the ocean are 'downright scary'

Oceans are warmer and more acidic than ever before in recorded history

by Malin Pinsky 

The oceans are warmer and more acidic than ever before in recorded history, and likely ever since modern humans evolved. That should worry everyone alive today.
Why? As go the oceans, so goes the health of the globe. Oceans produce more than half the oxygen we breathe, and are critical to regulating the climate. They have absorbed at least 90% of the heat from global warming since 1970, and continue to absorb 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year, equal to the weight of all the oil carried by supertankers annually.
This carbon dioxide makes seawater more acidic and kills off many animals that have shells, including many of the smallest animals that feed life in the ocean.

It’s clear that burning fossil fuels is the primary cause of these changes. If we continue on our current path of carbon emissions, we can expect ocean warming to accelerate, with temperatures rising twice as much in the next 40 years as they did in the past 140, further disrupting ocean life and the people who rely on it. Sea levels could rise by up to 6 feet by the end of the century — which would flood parts of many East Coast cities, including New York City.
We can already see that climate change is reshuffling ocean life like a deck of cards.   

On the East Coast, unusually warm water temperatures appear to have killed surf clams in large numbers off the shores of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. This is one of the largest fisheries in the region, and a major processing plant in Virginia has already closed, only to reopen in New England where the clams are still doing well.
Cod, the superlative white fish on dinner plates around the world and the species that first attracted Europeans to North America, is expected to become scarce in U.S. waters as temperatures continue warming.
The key point is that these changes are happening now, not in some distant future, and they affect our economy and our dinner plates, as well as our planet.
Avoiding further damage to marine life and further economic impacts will take a two-pronged approach: rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid further global warming, and a new approach to ocean management that can adapt to the unavoidable changes without opening the doors to overfishing. Achieving this will require new science to more effectively set sustainable fishing levels for a warmer, more acidic ocean, as well as greater incentives to use the science we already have.
We can still recover from many of the changes to the ocean so far, but the window for doing so is closing fast.

Malin Pinsky
Malin Pinsky is an associate professor at Rutgers University (New Jersey) in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, a member of the Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and an affiliate in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

Oyster trail designed to protect threatened industry

New NC coastline trail includes oyster farms, seafood markets, restaurants and educational sites.
The more than 300 miles of ocean and sound shoreline shape the state’s economy, culture and politics. In our five-part series, “Changing Tides,” reporter Jack Igelman and photographers Mark Darrough and Calvin Adkins explored the many facets of the coast, from the tiniest sea creature to the king mackerel to better understand the way climate change shapes our coastline and our state. The series is available at   
Read more from "Changing Tides"
"Changing Tides" is made possible in part with support from the Pulitzer Center Connected Coastlines initiative, a nationwide climate reporting initiative in U.S. coastal states, and through the support of readers like you.  
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Carolina Public Press is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization dedicated to nonpartisan, in-depth and investigative news for North Carolina. Launched in 2011, our award-winning, breakthrough journalism dismantles barriers and shines a light on critical overlooked and under-reported issues facing our state's 10.2 million residents.
Copyright © 2022 Carolina Public Press, All rights reserved.

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Carolina Public Press is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization dedicated to nonpartisan, in-depth and investigative news for North Carolina. Launched in 2011, our award-winning, breakthrough journalism dismantles barriers and shines a light on critical overlooked and under-reported issues facing our state's 10.2 million residents.
Copyright © 2022 Carolina Public Press, All rights reserved.

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