OCEAN CITY, Md. - Waterman and environmentalists are coming together this weekend for a one of a kind expo here on the shore. Every year the East Coast Commercial Fishermen's and Aquaculture Trade Expo provides a place to share thoughts on the condition of the Chesapeake Bay and ways to improve it.
The expo serves as a way to benefit the Maryland Watermen's Association and to bring attention to the bay cleanup.
For forty-four years the men and women who live and breathe life on the bay have come to meet in Ocean City, to trade advice, best practices and more.
"It gives us a chance where we can sit down and talk things over and make a relationship where we might not agree, but it makes it easier on us to try to meet somewhere in the middle so it works out best for the bay," says MWA president Robert T. Brown.
The East Coast Commercial Fishermen's and Aquaulture Trade Expo provides a place to not only shop the latest and greatest in technology, but also to rally waterman so that they can work together to make sure Maryland's biggest body of water gets the help it needs.
"There's something that everyone can do on their own to help the bay,"says Allison Colden with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "We try to inform people about what those things are, and here today especially we're focused on our oyster restoration program and there's tons of volunteer opportunities for that."
Part of that help comes with getting support in Annapolis. Money from the convention goes to the Maryland Waterman's Association, which in turn pays for the lobbyists that fight for fisheries and the health of the bay.
Just this week, The Chesapeake Bay Program released a report saying the bay's health is improving steadily. A positive sign, but also one that signals there'll be a lot of more hard work on the horizon if Maryland wants to see that trend continue.
"We have a large role, or part, in our mission in insuring that the livelihood that sustains the watermen that come to the trade show continues on," said Colden.
The trade expo continues through Sunday at the Ocean City Convention Center.
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