Team members | Dorchester County EDA

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.