Our History

Growing up as a third-generation waterman, Johnny Shockley always saw working on the water as more than just a job.  At an early age, you could find Johnny working alongside his parents right on the Chesapeake Bay.  From there he knew it was a tradition and legacy that he wanted to continue, which he did successfully for many years to come.  Depending on the time of year, you could find Johnny and his father, Dorsey, behind the helm of the Islander and Mis-Jon pulling crab pots, dredging oysters, and casting nets.  As the years unfolded, challenges like disease, pollution, and over-fishing threatened the traditional watermen’s lifestyle. Johnny, determined to stay connected to the industry, envisioned a new path – the birth of Hoopers Island Oyster Company.

What began as a dream evolved into a vertically integrated oyster company.  By 2016, Hoopers Island Oysters Company (HIOC) leased 365 acres in Fishing Bay, housing millions of farm raised oysters.  In 2017, HIOC opened Maryland’s first commercial state-of-the-art Hatchery & Nursery located in Crocheron, Maryland.  The hatchery is run by experienced biologists that spawn and raise seed (baby oysters) that will be sold to fellow oyster growers as well as moved to HIOC’s farms using methods developed by watermen and biologists alike.

As Johnny’s dream of Hoopers Island Oyster (HIOC) continued to expand and develop into something extraordinary, he saw an opportunity to pioneer and support other oyster growers in the industry by creating HIOC’s equipment division.  All the equipment that HIOC designs is used on their own oyster farms, and manufactured and sold to other growers. In addition, HIOC is a top U.S. distributor for Australia’s Hexcyl Longline Systems, also in use at their farms.

In 2019, Johnny and his son Jordan took a new step, founding Blue Oyster Environmental.  Blue Oyster Environmental is on a mission to transform the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem by accelerating the restoration of Eastern oysters as the keystone species. Their vision encompasses not only environmental benefits but also aims to contribute to the local economy.

As a pioneering force in 21st-century oyster aquaculture, Blue Oyster Environmental seeks to revolutionize the Chesapeake’s industry. By fostering collaboration among communities and businesses within the watershed, they aspire to enhance both the environment and the cultural fabric of the Chesapeake Bay. Established in 2019 in Maryland, Blue Oyster Environmental strategically invests in essential infrastructure. Their focus is on driving oyster aquaculture and related activities to promote environmental health and generate water quality credits through the cultivation, growth, and distribution of oysters, as well as the restoration of oyster reefs.

In 2023, Johnny and Blue Oyster Environmental made their first significant aquaculture infrastructure investment in 2023 with the acquisition of Hoopers Island Oyster Company. Through the acquisition, Blue Oyster Environmental became the most vertically integrated oyster aquaculture company on the East Coast that will stay true to its core principles of economy, environment and culture, upon which the company was founded.  This marks a new chapter in the company’s legacy, a testament to their unwavering commitment to the Chesapeake Bay and its traditions.