Talbot County Celebrates National Seafood Month and the Watermen Who Harvest It

October 1, 2021 by Krista Boothby

October is National Seafood Month! The air outside is turning cool and the leaves on the trees are turning deep hues of yellow, orange, and red, signaling that it’s time to celebrate the hard work of the watermen who work our waterways and the bounty of what they harvest. In Talbot County, these men and women awaken early in the morning, head out rain or shine into the Chesapeake Bay and its feeder rivers, and carry out labor intensive work over longs hours to bring to our tables the seafood, shellfish, and crabs we love so much.

Whether fish, shellfish,  cephalopods , or crustaceans, seafood is an important part of the human diet, as well as the bird and wildlife that make their home along the Eastern Shore. Seafood provides essential nutrients, promotes heart health, fights depression, and so much more. To buy and serve seafood supports the livelihoods of a network of local and international vendors, suppliers, and watermen. Here in Talbot County there are many ways to learn more about this unique way of life and support the watermen and environment where they ply their trade.  

Seafood is big business in Talbot County

Bounded on three sides by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Choptank River, Talbot County has more than 600 miles of tidal shoreline, the most of any county in the United States. It is from these waters that more than 500 Talbot County watermen make their living catching crabs, striped bass (a.k.a. Rockfish), blue catfish, and menhaden, and farm oysters and clams. This catch is then directed to local seafood markets and processing companies around the county. Read more about Talbot County’s seafood industry.

Experience the watermen’s way of life

Go Crabbing! Hop on the crab boat of Captain Wade Murphy and learn how to catch crabs straight from the Chesapeake Bay. The whole family will enjoy a morning out on the water and devouring the fruits of labor in the afternoon.

Catch the big one! Catch your own dinner with Chesapeake Lady II Fishing Charters and Screaming Eagle Charters. Whether your favorite is rockfish, bluefish, croaker, or other, these folks will set you up with the right gear to net a fish fit for the dinner table. 

Buy local seafood to take home! No matter where you’re staying in Talbot County, there is a seafood market near you. Whether you’re looking for steamed crabs while you’re here or want to take home fresh-caught fish to freeze for later, there is plenty from which to choose.

Learn about the watermen’s life

During your stay in Talbot County, make sure to visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels.  The CBMM complex sits alongside the Miles River and is dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and culture of the Chesapeake Bay region. It encompasses a museum, watermen’s wharf, Hopper Strait Lighthouse, fleet of boats, working shipyard – currently building the recreation of the Maryland Dove – and so much more! Also stop in the Tilghman Watermen’s Museum on Tilghman Island. The museum is open weekends and exhibits the stories and artifacts of the watermen’s way of life on Tilghman Island. 

You can also find more about fun ways to explore Talbot County’s water culture at BoatTalbot.org.

To our Talbot County watermen – Thanks for all the fish!

Stories of the Chesapeake