Ocean City Today

Md. Watermen’s Association expo this wknd. in OC

By Kara Hallissey | Jan 11, 2018

(Jan. 12, 2018) It is time for the only commercial fishing and aquaculture expo in the Mid-Atlantic region to take place at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street, this weekend.

The Maryland Watermen’s Association will host its 44th annual East Coast Commercial Fishermen’s and Aquaculture Trade Expo with more than 4,500 people expected throughout the three-day event, Jan. 12-14. About 4,000 people checked out the show in 2017.

“If you are in the watermen community or in the commercial seafood industry, it’s a good place to meet people with a similar mindset,” said Irene Connor, Maryland Watermen’s Association editor. “Watermen and fishermen can buy new gear and learn new things. It is an interesting show with a lot of activities.”

Organizers expect at least 90 exhibitors selling commercial watermen gear and equipment including crab pots, oyster baskets, safety equipment, nets, buoys, rods, reels, crab pot wire, engines, clothing, refrigeration and boats.

“There is a little bit of everything from educational outlets, a welder, electronics, sunglasses and county watermen’s associations,” Connor said.

Photographer Jay Fleming, of Annapolis, is the featured guest of the expo. He will be in attendance every day to interact with guests, display his original photographs and sign copies of his book, “Working the Water.”

On Friday night, there will be a cocktail party with an open bar from 6:30-8 p.m. featuring seafood hors d’oeuvres, salad, fruit and an oyster bar for $35 at the Clarion hotel on 101st Street. After 8 p.m., it switches to a cash bar and there will be auction items donated from trade show vendors. Proceeds from the auction at 7:15 p.m. will benefit the Maryland Watermen’s Association.

“On Friday, organizers ask the vendors if they would like to supply an item [for the auction],” Connor said. “Most do. They are always different and interesting. This is a very popular part of the event and in the past we have seen crab pots, oyster baskets and rocking chairs in the auction.”

Seminars will be held on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a huge focus on aquaculture and topics including nutrient reduction, seafood marketing, algal blooms and disease.

“There are a lot [of seminars] geared toward the aquaculture industry, but there is also a pretty wide range of topics,” Connor said. “Watermen probably want to catch the 11 a.m. seafood marketing session.”

The annual Waterman of the Year Contest will take place on Saturday around 2 p.m. when participants will compete for money, gear and prizes in individual skill competitions including net mending, rope splicing, knot tying and roping a piling.

To close out the show on Sunday at 3 p.m., the Maryland Watermen’s Association will hold a drawing for a Ford truck. The Association is selling 600 tickets at $100 each at the expo, in advance at marylandwatermen.com or by calling 410-216-6610.

Admission to the expo is $15 per day for adults and a three-day pass costs $25.

The expo runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

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