While most of the Eastern Shore’s watermen had known for some time that their centuries old harvesting industry was dying over the last several decades, Johnny Shockley, along with friend Ricky Fitzhugh, did not take that news sitting down. Aware of how unique Chesapeake Bay oysters were, and the exceptional market demand they offered, Shockley and his family went back to the drawing board to re-invent the oyster business from the ground up.
The result of that hard work and creative effort was the founded of the Hooper’s Island Oyster Aquaculture Company, which stands as one of the best examples of blending age old tradition with high technology tools to keep one of the Bay’s iconic trades viable and environmentally sustainable.
In his interview with the Spy, Johnny Shockley outlines what it took to kick-start Hooper’s Island Oyster Co. into one of the most innovative aquaculture enterprises on the East Coast. Johnny also highlights the role his family plays with the business, the successful by-products which include the international sale of specialized equipment, ecotourism, and the ongoing marketing efforts, including entertaining tours of wholesalers and restaurant chefs in conjunction with the Dorchester County Tourism to get the world out.
This video is approximately five minutes in length