Innovation Bolsters Aquaculture Industry

Built on ingenuity and entrepreneurism, Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company was branded Chesapeake Gold Oysters in 2010. Co-owners Johnny Shockley and Ricky Fitzhugh pioneered the innovative aquaculture movement in Dorchester County using the latest technologies. Supported by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Rural Development Loan, Eastern Shore Entrepreneurial Center, Dorchester County Economic Development, and their own resources, the partners renovated an old wholesale fish market, purchased equipment and began raising oysters on their newly leased grounds. It was once a thriving industry that provided livelihoods for many families on the bay but overharvesting, pollution and disease caused population declines. “We’re developing a company that will provide the infrastructure to support a new approach of producing oysters on the Chesapeake,” said Shockley. Always pushing the innovative edge, Shockley and Fitzhugh designed a system that could easily transition traditional oystering methods used by generations of watermen on the Chesapeake Bay to more efficient methods. Their oysters are grown in cages on the bottom of the bay and then cleaned throughout maturation. They are salted to desired levels at a shore facility to make up for the bay’s inconsistent salinity. Chesapeake Gold hosts tours of their facility and share their ingenuity with …

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Water Moves Us to Transform Traditional Industries

Generations of Eastern Shore residents earned their living plying the Chesapeake’s rivers and tributaries for the seafood synonymous with the Bay itself. As population growth and overfishing threatened the region’s once thriving industry, Dorchester ingenuity and entrepreneurism stepped in. Watermen turned entrepreneurs, Johnny Shockley and Ricky Fitzhugh established Hooper’s Island Oyster Aquaculture Company, branded Chesapeake Gold, in 2010 to use new technologies and techniques to cultivate oysters. Supported in part by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Rural Development Loan with support of the Dorchester County Economic Development Office, the partners renovated an old wholesale fish house, purchased equipment and began raising oysters in their newly licensed beds. Visit,0,3436725.story and learn how Dorchester leads Maryland in oyster farming.

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Dorchester Unveils 2014 Marketing Campaign

On Tuesday, January 14, Dorchester County Economic Development Director Keasha Haythe unveiled the county’s 2014 business marketing campaign before the Economic Development Advisory Committee. The ad campaign is the latest installment of “water moves us,” the economic branding program Haythe introduced last fall to elected and community leaders. The inaugural advertisements profile Dorchester’s business strengths and opportunities. Highlighting specific industries and showcasing successful people, the campaign features bold photography, memorable copy and compelling stories. The seven campaign profiles illustrate how Dorchester’s identity reflects the landscape, culture and the character of the people who live, work and visit. The industries and companies featured in the 2014 campaign are: Agriculture (Layton’s Chance Winery); Aquaculture (Chesapeake Gold); Arts and Creative Class (Dorchester Center for the Arts); Manufacturing (GKD); Restaurants/Retail (Realerevival Brewing); Small Business (TNT Moving & Cleaning); and Tourism (Harriet Tubman State Park). “Water moves us” captures the heritage, identity and economic opportunities unique to our county,” Haythe said, “we plan to add new profiles each year to continue to tell our stories of industrious and innovative entrepreneurs and business leaders.” The 2014 campaign will be featured on Dorchester County’s website, in social media, on banners, brochures, print and digital advertisements as well …

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