CAMBRIDGE — Johnny Shockley, a third generation waterman and vice president of Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture, has received the 2017 Environmental Stewardship Award from Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth (DCPG).
Mr. Shockley was honored at DCPG’s 10th annual membership meeting on Jan. 29 at the Robbins Heritage Center in Cambridge. State Senator Addie Eckardt joined DCPG Board President Capt. Fred Pomeroy in presenting Mr. Shockley with a framed photograph of Tundra Swans by renowned Cambridge nature artist David Harp. The inscription on the photograph’s back cited the group’s appreciation for Mr. Shockley’s pioneering work.
“Each year, we recognize a local citizen who has proven to be good steward of our county’s resources,” said Mr. Pomeroy. “Through his efforts to develop a local oyster aquaculture industry, Johnny has supported one our primary goals, which is to maintain traditional occupations like farming and fishing in Dorchester.”
With his partner Ricky Fitzhugh, Mr. Shockley, a Fishing Creek native and Woolford resident, launched Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture in 2010.
The company took more than two million oysters to market in 2016 and is rapidly expanding its manufacturing division to sell aquaculture equipment throughout North America and as far as Japan.
Plans call for the addition of a nursery operation and the opening of the state’s first commercial oyster hatchery in March to establish Maryland oysters as a sustainable product and build an industry that will parallel the existing public fishery.
“I humbly accept this award,” said Mr. Shockley, who was joined at the event by his wife Nancy and son Jordan, Hooper Island’s Nursery/Farm Manager. “The goals of DCPG mirror my motivation to preserve the traditions, fisheries and communities we hold closely to our heart here in Dorchester County.”
DCPG is organized to guarantee a public voice in issues of land and water use. The group advocates for the maintenance and conservation of natural resources, farmland, tidewater and open spaces in Dorchester County. To learn about volunteer opportunities and membership, visit www.dcpgonline.org.
News and information on Hoopers Island oysters, equipment, larvae and seed is available at www.hioac.com.