Written by Michelle Gayton
Legacy isn't built in a day
Virginia boatbuilding brothers pay tribute to a long oystering tradition
By Larry Chowning
In 2006 David and Mark Moore started building an oyster boat. This July — six years later — the 30-foot Legacy went into the water at Deep Creek Landing in Newport News, Va.
It’s not that the Moore brothers are slow boatbuilders; it’s just that other things got in the way. “The reason it took so long for us to build it was because we had to build it around our lives,” says David, who owns the boat.
“We both work other jobs, so we worked on the boat mostly during holidays or at nights. But sometimes we would knock off and it was months before either of us could get back to it. It nearly drove me crazy because I love building boats, but finding the time was very difficult.”
To be sure, the Moore family has been tied to boatbuilding and the lucrative James River oyster fishery for a long time. Their father, Billy Moore, who was involved in a documentary and a book on how to build wooden deadrise boats, along with other boatbuilders in the Deep Creek area, taught David and Mark boatbuilding.
The oystering connection goes back to the 1920s when their great-grandfather leased oyster grounds on the James and Warwick rivers. He also owned an oyster buy boat.
For years, Billy, David and Mark built boats primarily for their own use, but they didn’t always get to keep them, especially in the 1980s and ’90s when the market for deadrise oyster boats was strong along the James River. “Every time we got one built, someone would come along wanting to go oystering, usually around Thanksgiving, and offer us a crazy price for it. We would sell it and start another one,” David remembers.
He can reel off a list of those boats. “We built one in 1973, 1976, 1978, 1980, two in 1982, one in 1983, one in 1985, one in 1986, one in 1991 and the last one, besides this one we have just completed, was built in 1993.
“We were pretty busy building boats for a while, but Mark got into commercial contracting and I got into the metal fabrication business, and we just didn’t have time to build boats.”
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...