Bay Journal

Rona Kobell

Feds interview Tangier watermen, look into oyster sales records in Crisfield

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Officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visited several watermen on Tangier Island and seafood businesses in Crisfield last week as part of an investigation they are conducting related to oysters.

The federal officials interviewed watermen on the Virginia island, asking for records related to oyster sales to Crisfield businesses. They took copies of records but did not...

Smith Island losing land, population and now its shepherd

They stand in a tidy church graveyard in the main town of Ewell, adorned with U.S. flags and fresh wreaths, their shiny coatings a rebuke to the battering winds and rising tides. The headstones bear the surnames of Smith Island: Bradshaw, Somers, Evans, Corbin. Hardy stock, all. Their descendants are still there, sticking it out on Maryland’s last inhabited offshore Chesapeake...

Aquaculture reviving oyster industry – as well as watermen

Decades ago, Wingate Harbor was full of working oystermen in the late fall and winter, plying the Honga River’s thick oyster bars and bringing their catch to the dock. But when diseases took hold and the harvest plummeted, the oystermen hung up their dredges and tongs and left this lower Dorchester County, MD, village for other lines of work. Gradually, as regulations tightened...

Island trip immerses students in effects of climate change

As field trips go, it would be hard to imagine one more out there than the visit Northampton High School’s 10th graders took this spring to Parramore Island.

Instead of a typical school tour of the Air and Space Museum or the National Archives in Washington, DC, the students sloshed around the mudflats of a coastal barrier island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore that, on a typical...

NASA scientists deem Fowler’s wade-in data out of this world

For nearly 30 years, on the second Sunday in June, Bernie Fowler has led an ad hoc group of scientists, politicians, friends and concerned citizens into the murky Patuxent River in Calvert County to see if it’s getting any cleaner. Wearing overalls, a hat with an American flag pin, and a pair of white sneakers, the former Maryland state senator wades in until he can no longer see...

Trump administration pledges to do more with less for U.S. aquaculture

"Aquaculture is not the future of oyster harvests. It's the present," said Mark Luckenbach - Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Luckenbach, based at the VIMS lab at Wachapreague, told me those words 11 years ago, when I wrote my first story about oyster aquaculture. Since then, I’ve written more than 100 stories on the topic, and someday, I hope, I’ll write a book. One thing...

Sea change: Warehouse to be transformed into food emporium

For the first time in more than 30 years, the Maryland Wholesale Seafood Market is in line for a major facelift.

It’s an expensive one, too. The planned $40 million project will add 104,000 square feet of space to the Jessup facility and change its purpose from a busy-at-dawn seafood warehouse to a food emporium for its growing base of retail customers.

To be renamed the...

Fish, seafood distributors tipping the scales in favor of safety

J. J. McDonnell & Co., Inc. processes thousands of pounds of fish a day: lobster trucked to its Howard County headquarters from Maine, crabs plucked from Tangier Sound, farmed oysters from Southern Maryland and tuna flown in from Africa. They’re different species, but their requirements are the same — constant, consistent cold. Under 50 degrees for live fish, under 40 degrees for...

Get on board for stand-up paddling

Stand-up paddle boarding came to the Chesapeake Bay region about seven years ago and shows no signs of waning. The sport is growing in popularity: There are paddle board races, paddle board team-building activities, paddle board yoga, paddle board youth camps and even a cool nickname for the sport — SUP.

Fishery managers weighing cuts in Bay crab harvest

Chesapeake Bay crabbers will likely face some harvest restriction this season to protect future generations of the iconic crustacean, a move managers say is necessary because of the low population of juveniles.

Fishery managers for Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission all say they are considering shortening the season and imposing stricter limits on the...

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About Rona Kobell

Rona Kobell's avatar

Rona Kobell is a staff writer for the Bay Journal. She has began her journalism career at The Jerusalem Post, then moved to Washington, D.C., to become a writer and editor for Public Risk, a trade journal. She worked for newspapers in St. Joseph, Mo., and her hometown of Pittsburgh before joining The Baltimore Sun in 2000 where she became its Chesapeake Bay reporter in 2004. Her work has won numerous awards and in 2008, she was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying the use of economic incentives in environmental policy.

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