Posted January 22, 2018
Ocean City is getting emergency federal attention, but you wouldn't know it unless you do business on the water.
Rising sand bars have already caused one ship carrying 11,000 pounds of fish to run aground, and the fear is many others could suffer a similar fate.
That's why Congressman Andy Harris called in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to tackle the problem before it gets out of hand.
Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) said, "The port in Ocean City is an important commercial port obviously and not only for fisherman, but for other industry so we have to keep that port open its the Army Corps job to do that, and I'm glad they agreed to do this emergency dredge."
Shoaling continues to be a growing problem in Ocean City. Shoaling is a phenomenon where sand builds up, making certain areas too shallow for boats to pass.
The problem is that these shallow areas are continuing to spread, driving more boaters away from the beach town.
Pat Schrawder, a District Representative, said, "We are a tourism town, but fishing is a major part of that, and we're having more and more boats decide not to come to Ocean City because they won't risk vessel damage."
James Reese, the owner of Southern Connection Seafood, is all too familiar with problems caused by the building shoals."I got a phone call from my plant manager and he said hey, we got a big problem here," he said.
The problem was one of Reese's boats got stranded in the inlet with thousands of pounds of fish on board.
Reese said, "Last Thursday night, we had a boat coming in with 11,000 pounds of black sea bass into our Ocean City plant. He ran aground at the inlet."
Congressman Harris said, "It's too bad we had to have that one incident with a fishing boat going aground, but in the end, the Army Corps will take care of the problem."
The dredging is scheduled to begin on February 2nd and should only take a few days to a week to complete.
Congressman Harris says this is a short term solution to a long term problem, but the Army Corps is conducting a comprehensive study of the inlet to come up with a more long term solution.