Voices of the Coastal Bays is a fisheries heritage project that began with inspiration from MCBP’s popular Living Local initiative – which encourages consumers to support local, small-scale farms and educates them about best farming practices. Our Environmental Scientist and Educator, Cailyn Joseph, wanted to expand on the “living local” theme by diving into local and small-scale fisheries. At the end of 2021, Cailyn, with the help of our education coordinator, Liz Wist, applied for a Beach to Bay Heritage Area Mini-Grant and received funding to move forward with the Voices of the Coastal Bays project.
The first component of the project is a virtual, interactive timeline that takes the user through the history of commercial fishing in Ocean City and how the West OC Harbor came to be. This timeline features historic archived photographs donated by the OC Life Saving Station Museum, quotes from fishermen of the past and present, and photographs captured by local photographer, Zach Garmoe, of the present-day commercial fishing industry.
Another important component of this project was giving the local fishermen and women of today a platform to share their stories and highlight the local seafood businesses that keep the legacy of the West OC Harbor alive. Three local fishing companies partnered with us for this project – Skilligalee Seafood, Martin Fish Co., and Seaborn Seafood. Each of them allowed us to interview them and spoke about their experiences and challenges as small-scale fishers in Ocean City. You can read their stories in our interview articles found below.
Finally, we created a Smart Seafood Guide for Ocean City, Maryland as a tool for locals and visitors alike to use when deciding which seafood to consume. This guide shows the seafood caught locally in Ocean City and in what months they are in season to encourage more informed and localized seafood choices. This guide is available as a PDF found at the “Smart Seafood Guide” button below.
Please join us in celebrating the unique fishing heritage of our area and supporting the hardworking fishers to continue to keep it alive! If you have any questions about this project, please reach out to Liz Wist or Cailyn Joseph.
Click any of the links below to read about interviews with our partnering fishing companies that work to keep the heritage and history of the West OC Marina alive. Read about their experiences and challenges as they navigate the commercial fishing industry from Ocean City and learn how you can best support them.