West O.C. Fishermen Push for Dredging Improvements - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

West O.C. Fishermen Push for Dredging Improvements

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WEST OCEAN CITY, Md.- Bob Nagy fishes for tuna not too far from West Ocean City, but getting his catch to shore is often difficult. He, and a lot of commercial fishermen, have to figure out how to get through the Ocean City Inlet without getting stuck on a sand bar.

"They can't operate the way they are suppose to here," said Nagy, as he shook his head in disbelief. "They [county officials] need to get it dredged. So it's a touchy situation when you are coming in and out of the inlet."

Nagy said the channel is dredged only twice a year, making it challenging for watermen to make their way between the navigational buoys.

Insurance companies won't pay for any damage if a boat goes outside of the buoys. So avoiding the sand bars and coming up with a new route into this harbor is not an option-- at least not a good one.

"There are a lot of commercial boats that want to come in here [ West Ocean City Harbor], but they won't come in here because of that," said Nagy. He went on to say, "They [ county officials] still want to have a seafood industry, so if they want to keep that, they have to make it 'fishable' for these people [commercial fishermen] coming in and out."

In fact, just last week, a large commercial vessel ran aground near the entrance of the harbor, forcing the captain and crew to wait for about three hours until the tide changed.

Environmental Consultant Spencer Rowe said the harbor needs to be dredged deeper than 10 feet.

"We're allowed to go deeper to 14 feet but not just with federal money," said Rowe, as he explained the federal government only funds 10-foot dredge projects, and anything deeper has to get funding elsewhere. He added, "there has to be a partnership." Nagy believes a partnership between the state and Worcester county officials would "clear" the way for commercial fishermen in West Ocean City.

John Martin, a commercial fisherman in West Ocean City, went before county commissioners and asked for their backing and financial support. County officials did respond with support, but not financial support. Bud Church, president, Board of Worcester County Commissioners, will lobby state officials for financial support. As for now, county officials will study the activity of the West Ocean City harbor for possible solutions.

 

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