Officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visited several watermen on Tangier Island and seafood businesses in Crisfield last week as part of an investigation they are conducting related to oysters.
The federal officials interviewed watermen on the Virginia island, asking for records related to oyster sales to Crisfield businesses. They took copies of records but did not seize any bivalves; it’s not harvest season.
Federal officials would not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, saying that’s their policy. But Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, did confirm “federal law enforcement activity” in Crisfield and Tangier last Wednesday.
Tangier Mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge said the officials came in two boats and a helicopter; at first, he said, he thought President Donald Trump had arrived. Trump famously phoned the mayor earlier this month, having seen a program on CNN about how Tangiermen didn’t believe in climate change – their problem was erosion – and had overwhelmingly voted for him.