April 8, 2008 — $2.2 Million Grant Awarded for “The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle”
Much-Anticipated Project Is On Its Way

The North Carolina Aquariums and the Town of Emerald Isle have been awarded a $2.2 million grant from the NC Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund (WAMI) for design work and initial construction activities for “The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle.” The NC Division of Marine Fisheries, the agency responsible for overseeing the coast-wide $20 million WAMI Fund, announced the grant award in April.

The NC Aquariums and the Town are partnering to construct a new 1,000 ft. long ocean fishing pier and new multi-purpose pier house at the site of the Town’s Eastern Ocean Regional Access facility located near mile marker 15 on NC 58. The site is currently used for beach access and parking, and is the former site of the old Emerald Isle Pier that was dismantled as a result of the hurricanes of the 1990s.

The new pier will be constructed with concrete and steel to withstand future hurricanes and will include wooden decking to maintain the traditional NC ocean pier experience. The new pier house will include typical pier amenities, and will also include Aquarium exhibits, educational facilities, university research facilities, and public meeting areas.

The $2.2 million grant will fund detailed design work for the new facility, construction of various site improvements (parking, wastewater, storm water), and construction of a new soundfront pier that will complement the new ocean fishing pier. Design work will begin later this summer with construction of the new facility expected to begin in 2010. The target date for the opening of the new facility is spring 2012. Construction will be funded with a combination of NC Aquarium funding and additional State and local grant funding. The total construction cost is estimated at more than $12 million.

“The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle” will be the second of three planned State piers in North Carolina that will be managed by the North Carolina Aquariums – one in close proximity to each of the State’s three aquarium facilities in Manteo, Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher. Construction is expected to begin on “The Aquarium Pier at Nags Head” later this year.

The Town is pleased to be partnering with the NC Aquariums on this exciting project, and is grateful for grant funding awarded from the WAMI Fund. The “Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle” will insure the perpetual existence of a public ocean fishing pier in Emerald Isle, thereby preserving the North Carolina ocean fishing pier experience for residents and visitors of Emerald Isle, Carteret County, and all of North Carolina. Ocean fishing piers are an important part of North Carolina’s coastal heritage, and are important public access facilities for fishermen, disabled individuals, and the general public.

The Town will soon convey the Eastern Ocean Regional Access site to the NC Aquariums, who will be the lead agency in the design and construction of the new facility. Town officials will remain heavily involved in the project and a special advisory committee consisting of Town and Aquarium appointees will soon be established to assist in the effort. The Town is excited and proud to help make “The Aquarium Pier at Emerald Isle” a reality in the coming years!


November 1, 2007 The Town of Emerald Isle continues its efforts to insure the perpetual existence of a public ocean fishing pier in Emerald Isle. The Town is extremely pleased to announce its partnership with the NC Aquariums to construct a new 1,000 ft. long concrete pier at the Town’s Eastern Ocean Regional Access site – which is also the location of the old Emerald Isle Pier from 1955 – 1996.

The NC Aquariums, in partnership with the Town, have submitted a grant funding proposal to the State’s Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund to fund planning, design, permitting, and site improvement work for “The Aquarium Pier on Emerald Isle” at this site. Construction funds would be provided by a combination of future NC Aquarium operating receipts, additional grants, and local government and private contributions.

According to the NC Aquariums’ proposal, construction could begin as early as 2010, with the new pier opening in 2012.  There is still much hard work ahead of us, but we are off to a great start on this project. Please stay informed about our progress by visiting www.saveourpier.com or www.emeraldisle-nc.org  in the future.

To view the funding proposals and details of the Town’s partnership with the NC Aquariums, click on the links below:


North Carolina piers are a part of the state’s and the country’s coastal heritage. Many longstanding public fishing piers are disappearing today due to coastal development and redevelopment. The Town of Emerald Isle, North Carolina is working to keep this from happening in its community, where since 1955 fishing piers in this coastal town have provided wonderful fishing opportunities and treasured memories for generations.

We need your help. The Town of Emerald Isle is seeking to partner with the NC Aquariums to ensure the perpetual existence of a public fishing pier in Emerald Isle. Emerald Isle seeks to become the location of the State’s central coast public fishing pier.

We are a long way from making this a reality, and it will take the coordinated efforts of many to make it happen. The Town of Emerald Isle is looking for funding from several state and federal sources. Our chances of receiving state and federal funding are significantly increased if we can show significant local monetary support. Therefore, the North Carolina Aquarium Society is accepting donations for the “Emerald Isle Pier Project” and will keep them in a “restricted account.”

Click on the following links to make a donation. Thanks for visiting and for your support to ensure the perpetual existence of a public pier in Emerald Isle. Any donation, along with your signature, takes us one step closer to keeping the pier open for future generations of residents and visitors.