Salty Stories

In recent years, Mark has completed a number of writing projects going far from the Vineyard shoreline. Here are but a few of his favorite salty stories:

In April of 2006, he went to China to hunt for the New England bay scallop. His search and subsequent interviews with a number of Chinese experts resulted in a story about a $500 million aquaculture industry that is driving the Asian waterfront economy. There are hundreds of hatcheries and shellfish beds extending from the Straits of Taiwan all the way up to the Yellow Sea.

In the summer of 2006, he went to the island of Cuttyhunk to find out about a successful oyster farm that hires local summer kids to do most of the work. Seth Garfield of Cuttyhunk Farms Shellfish Inc. was observing his 25th year in business.

Lobsters used to be this region’s number one seafood. In Southeastern Massachusetts, however, the fishery is in decline. To draw attention to the struggles of local fishermen, Mark went out lobstering with Menemsha fisherman Pat Jenkinson.

In the fall of 2005, Mark, with the help of a team of editors and graphics colleagues at the Vineyard Gazette, published a special section on the declining state of Georges Bank. The project began in the spring of 2005 with a two-week stormy cruise aboard a federal fisheries research vessel. The ship traveled more than a thousand miles on the great bank. The special section even to this day remains the most comprehensive writing project found anywhere in New England of the once fertile and now troubled fishing grounds.

Each year, he writes dozens of stories for the Vineyard’s oldest weekly newspaper, Vineyard Gazette, where he’s worked since 1979. The stories range from fisheries, politics, to features and a little bit of science writing. Many of the stories are available in the Vineyard Gazette’s Internet archives.

In 2007, he wrote articles for the Maine monthly Commercial Fisheries News about the fishing industry, from bay scallops to an experimental effort to raise blue mussels in Vineyard waters. In 2013, he wrote for Anglers Journal about the end of harpooning swordfish for an old Martha’s Vineyard family.