Wild Caught: The Life and Struggles of an American Fishing Town
In 1999, at North Topsail Beach, Matt Barr watched the shrimp boats pull their nets just offshore. Curious, he followed the boats up the New River Inlet to where they offloaded their catch in the small fishing village of Sneads Ferry. Captivated by the ingenuity, wisdom, and sense of community the fishermen shared, he spent seven years filming them at work and with their families, interviewing them as they shared the lore of the sea that had been handed down for generations.
What started as the story of a tight-knit traditional fishing town changed in 2003. The price of shrimp, the main catch in Sneads Ferry, plummeted as the result of the rise of imported farm-raised shrimp. Around the same time, Sneads Ferry was "discovered" by real estate developers, pushing housing costs and property taxes sky-high. The small-scale fishermen went from being able to provide for their families to being a small step away from disaster.
In an updated version of the film, one crabber, Johnny Wayne Midgett, fights developers and zoning officials for the right to offload his catch on his family's land – and wins.