Pamlico Sound

The largest sound in NC!

Pamlico Sound Basics

Pamlico sound is located in the Albemarle-Pamlico sound system, along the northeastern coast of North Carolina. It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Outer Banks. It is the nursery area for over 75 species of fish and shellfish, and the shellfish beds there are important to the fishing industry. Commercial fishing, tourism, recreation, and resort development are activities within the sound that are important to the region around it. It is fed by the Pamlico and Neuse rivers and by Oregon Inlet, Hatteras Inlet, and Ocracoke Inlet, and from both southeastern Virginia and eastern NC.

Threats to Pamlico Sound

Pamlico Sound, although pretty, is experiencing a number of problems. Some of them are:

  • Excessive nutrients; Fertilizers and wastes from humans are being washed into the sound, causing huge problems for the wildlife there.
  • Toxic Materials: Toxic materials find their way into the sounds, and can easily poison the creatures living there.
  • Erosion and Sedimentation: Although this may not seem bad, whenever it rains, sediments are eroded and travel to the sound. Unfortunately, they can carry toxic materials, and excessive sediment can end up smothering clams, oysters, and other bottom-dwellers.
  • Habitat Loss: As more and more people come to settle in the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound region, more and more habitats are being lost. Habitat damage can lead to a decrease in the population of plants and animals, and eventually cause extinction!

Pamlico Sound: sunset, flora, and fauna

Very Cool!

Fun Facts

Some things you may not have known about Pamlico Sound:
  • It's the largest sound in NC.
  • It has many forms of wildlife, including (but not limited to) dolphins, sea turtles, seals, sharks, fish, shellfish, whales, crabs, and waterfowl.
  • The sound was named for the Pamlico Native American tribe that lived along the sound's main banks.
  • It was discovered in March, 1524, by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Spanish explorer. He mistook it for the Pacific Ocean, because it was so vast.
  • The sound is sometimes referred to as "America's largest open water playground."
  • Some plants there include black needlerush, sawgrass, cattails, bullrushes, and eelgrass.