OCEAN CITY — The holy grail of fishing shows is coming back to the beach this weekend.
The 40th annual East Coast Fisherman’s & Aquaculture Trade Expo returns to the Roland E. Powell Convention Center from Friday-Sunday, Jan. 17-19.
The fishing component of the event has been a staple since the beginning, but the aquaculture aspect has been gaining steam recently, thanks in part to deteriorating conditions in the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waters.
“One of the reasons for the growth of the aquaculture industry is all the disease that came through and we had oysters dying,” said organizer Robert T. Brown. “It’s really come a long ways; there’s enough market out there for the wild oyster and the aquaculture, so they don’t really run against each other that much.
“You have certain times of the year when the wild oysters come on the market and kind of take over a little bit,” he continued, “but right now, even though we had a real good season and everything was picking up, there hasn’t been as many people catching as many oysters because they’ve been working on them all season. Plus the weather is getting bad, so there just aren’t as many days to work. It all kind of weights out.”
For aquaculture enthusiasts, the trade expo will have plenty of tanks and other related equipment available. Aquaculture demonstrations and seminars will also be held.
For commercial fishermen, vendors will carry everything from boats to crab pots to fishing line.