RALEIGH – White River Marine Group is going to create more than 500 jobs at new manufacturing facilities in eastern North Carolina. It also is acquiring the Hatteras brand of boats, Gov. Roy Cooper announced.

The economic boost for New Bern and Craven County came when the North Carolina Economic Investment Committee on Thursday morning approved a package of tax incentives. Cooper attended a formal announcement later in New Bern.

The company says it will invest $34 million in the new project.

White River Marine Group is part of Missouri-based Bass Pro Group which also includes Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.

“With Hatteras’ rich heritage of craftsmanship and access to some of the world’s best offshore angling, our aim is to help solidify New Bern as the world’s capital for saltwater gamefish and boat building,” said Johnny Morris, who founded and grew both Bass Pro Shops and White River Marine Group. “We love the passion for fishing and commitment to craftsmanship found in New Bern. We’re very grateful to Governor Cooper and his team, as well as local officials and leaders including Craven County Manager Jack Veit and Craven County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Jason Jones for their genuine welcoming spirit and their leadership in supporting our vision to invest in this incredible angling community.”

White River Marine Group, or WRMG, builds boats under such brands as Tracker, Ranger and Tahoe. The firm says it’s the “world’s largest builder of fishing and recreational boats by volume.”

The governor’s office said the company plans a “major investment to modernize the Hatteras facility and establish a state-of-the-art coastal manufacturing center generating hundreds of new jobs.”

“Boat and marine manufacturing requires specialized and experienced workers, and White River Marine knows our state can deliver the people they need to successfully expand their business in New Bern,” Cooper said in a statement.

The new jobs will pay wages of some $44,600 a year. That’s some $4,000 more than the average wage in Craven County, according to the EIC.

The company will receive some $6 million in state tax incentives if job targets are met. Local tax incentives for the project totaled more than $1 million.

North Carolina was selected over Florida and South Carolina for the deal, the EIC said.