A shrimp boat from Wanchese, N.C., ran aground at Cape Hatteras National Seashore just before dawn on Monday, Feb. 4. All three members of the crew were rescued and taken to a local hospital.

Emergency crews arrived to find the F/V Big John broken apart along a half-mile stretch of the national seashore near Frisco, N.C. National Park Service photo.

At 5:20 on Monday morning, calls went out to the Coast Guard, Cape Hatteras rangers and the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad reporting an overturned vessel near Cape Point. Emergency crews arrived to find the 55-foot shrimp trawler Big John broken apart along a half-mile stretch of the national seashore near Frisco, N.C.

Debris from the accident closed part of the beach in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

"The debris field contains nails, wood, and other potentially hazardous objects. Once the beach is cleared, it will be reopened," said a press release from park staff.

North Carolina's shore is famous for being the final resting place for more than 2,000 ships, including Civil War blockade runners and German U-boats. The cause of this wreck is undetermined.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore was recruiting volunteers to help with the cleanup on Tuesday.

North Carolina shrimpers have been making bountiful hauls of shrimp this winter, landing as much as 20,000 pounds a trip. Some biologists speculate that warming waters are sending the shrimp north. Movement from southern waters may be coupled with an influx of shrimp moving south from Chesapeake Bay, as a rainy season has flooded the estuary with fresh water.

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

Join the Conversation