NAGS HEAD - Since it reopened in May 2011, Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head has truly lived up to its mantra of 'fishing, family and fun,' and the numbers back it up.
In the past week alone, anglers have reeled nine large cobia and one dolphin fish from the emerald green and clear, 76-degree water. Two, large, crevalle jack were caught and released the last week of June.
In the first 12 months of operations, estimates show that more than a half million people visited the pier complex, which features a 1,000-foot-long fishing pier, pier house, public beaches, bathhouse and parking. The pier is the fourth facility to be added to the North Carolina Aquariums Division, which is administered by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
According to Mike Remige, general manager of Jennette’s Pier, some 32,000 anglers have tried their luck during the first year of operation.
In addition, close to 2,400 people have participated in one of the 27 programs, classes or camps offered by the education department. Another 3,224 students from 36 schools made an educational field trip to the pier, said Christin Brown, education coordinator.
“We look forward to educating even more visitors this year,” she said.
Nearly 10,000 people have attended 75 functions in Oceanview Hall, the pier’s second-story banquet hall, with its covered, wrap-around porch and sweeping ocean views. These events included wedding receptions, corporate retreats and governmental meetings.
During its first year, the pier received two awards for green technologies in design and construction. In March, on behalf of the pier, Remige accepted a Second Place DENR Sustainability award. In May, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the pier a Platinum-level LEED certification.
By far the most noticeable part of the green package at Jennette’s are the three wind turbines, which produced more than 70,000 kilowatt hours in the first year.
“That’s enough to power six to seven regular-sized residential homes for a year,” Remige said.
Most of the pier’s 500,000 visitors seem to find the green technologies and educational panels, explaining coastal topics such as coastal wind, waves, fishing, seasonal changes, surfing and fish identifications, to be an extra bonus to their experience.
“The entire pier is an educational tool,” Remige said.
The thousands of anglers also seemed pleased with the wide variety of fish and other sea life available. To date, anglers have caught plenty of bluefish, spot, croaker, sea mullet, gray trout, speckled trout, flounder, cobia, crevalle jack and Spanish mackerel.
A huge, fierce barracuda was landed last summer. Anglers have also landed spiny dogfish, skates, rays, sea stars, lingcod, hickory shad, horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, a moon fish and even a lobster.
Large red drum and bluefish have also been caught. On any given day, all levels anglers continue to try their luck.
Another element visitors seem to appreciate is the facility’s accessibility to those with disabilities. The entire facility is handicap accessible – and thanks to a grant from the N.C. Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund, there’s even a new ramp to the beach.
The pier is open 24 hours a day seven days a week, June through September. For more information and seasonal hours, visit http://www.jennettespier.net.
In addition to Jennette’s Pier, the N. C. Aquariums Division operates three public aquariums; one is near Nags Head on Roanoke Island, the second is in Pine Knoll Shores near Atlantic Beach and the third is at Fort Fisher near Carolina Beach.
The mission of the aquarium division is to inspire appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic environment.
For more information about Jennette’s Pier, please contact Daryl Law at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-255-1501 ext. 202.