MALLOWS BAY FISHING REEF: Gov. Larry Hogan Celebrates Maryland’s First National Marine Sanctuary – for Fish, Not Illegals

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MALLOWS BAY FISHING REEF: Gov. Larry Hogan Celebrates Maryland’s First National Marine Sanctuary – for Fish, Not Illegals

Sanctuary Status Will Preserve Mallows Bay’s Historic “Ghost Fleet”

NANJEMOY, MD— There is never any shortage of things that politicians will or have done in the past one hundred years to the Potomac River – usually in the name of protecting it, hurting it or just posing with it. During the height of World War I, the United States commissioned the construction of hundreds of wooden gunboats to be rushed to protect the Atlantic coast and the war in Europe.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and the Indians.

WHAT A GREAT LOCATION FOR CASINO! In Maryland, the Indians don’t get the casinos, they are reserved for big corporations who donate lots of wampum to politicians.

In recognition of the immense significance of Mallows Bay to the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, Governor Hogan joined tribal representatives for a ceremonial cedar tree blessing.

Mallows Bay PT Boat. THE CHESAPEAKE PHOTO by Capt. Larry Jarboe

The war came to an end on Nov. 11, 1919, and left these wooden vessels as surplus. The United States government then sold the vessels for scrap, the fittings and valuable were removed and the scrapper then towed the vessels to a cove in the Potomac River near Charles County and parked them where they soon sunk in the shallow water and became fishing reefs.

Mallows-Bay-Accomac-Wreck. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo by Capt. Larry Jarboe

Accomac is the only steel-hulled vessel in the Mallows Bay-Widewater area. She was built in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1928 as the Virginia Lee. She was loaned to the British for convoy transport during WWI and after the war was converted to diesel power and renamed Holiday. The Holiday ran ferry services between Boston, Plymouth, and Provincetown, MA before being rebuilt for service with the Virginia Ferry Corporation and renamed again. As the steam ferry Accomac, she serviced the ferry route between Cape Charles and Norfolk, Virginia until she suffered a terrible fire and was permanently taken out of commission. About 1973 the ship was hauled to the southern perimeter of Mallows Bay and abandoned – From arcgis.com

Now the government is celebrating “saving” this fishing reef, or underwater park, where, in fact, all they had to do was to continue to ignore it. The Mallows Bay ghost fleet found plenty of species of fish moving in and around, along with lots of fisherfolks eager to harvest all the teeming fish.

Mallows-Bay-Wreck-one of the many hulks of the Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay – THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo by Capt. Larry Jarboe

Governor Larry Hogan on Nov. 9, 2019, attended a celebration of Mallows Bay’s official designation as a national marine sanctuary by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which ensures the preservation of the remains of more than 100 World War I-era vessels.

Mallows-Bay-Canoe-Couple – The Ghost Fleet is a mecca for not only fishing but canoeing, kayaking, and photography. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo by Capt. Larry Jarboe.

“The Mallows Bay landscape truly tells the story of our beginnings, our struggles, and our progress as Marylanders and Americans,” said Governor Hogan. “Through this designation, we are ensuring that this national treasure will attract families, anglers, kayakers, and history buffs for years to come.”

Mallows Bay-fishing-revealed-fish-found-swimming-in-river-by-Catfish-Bill-Davis.

Located along an 18-square mile stretch of Potomac River coast, Mallows Bay is most famous for its “Ghost Fleet” of steamships that were built in response to the threat of German U-boats as America mobilized for the First World War.

Cap’n Larry Jarboe / Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay; A Drone’s Eye View of Ship Graveyard

The marine area is home to the remains of vessels dating as far back as the American Revolution. Native American, colonial, and Civil War sites of significant historical and archeological value are also located nearby. This scenic destination provides diverse recreational opportunities, making it a key driver of tourism and economic development for Charles County.

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NOAA, the State of Maryland, and Charles County will manage the sanctuary jointly. The Chesapeake Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Commission also served as partners to secure this crucial recognition. 

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The first national marine sanctuary designated since 2000, Mallows Bay joins 13 other marine sanctuaries and two marine monuments overseen by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. This network of “underwater parks” encompasses more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters.

CAPT. LARRY JARBOE
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