"We are all EQUAL on the ocean and the ocean does not discriminate..."
Corey Wheeler Forrest has been in the fishing business her entire life. She is the proud mother of two beautiful children.
How long have you been in the fish business, is it a family business? If so, who started the business?"My grandfather, George Wheeler, used to truck fish for a living. He and his business partner, Francis Manchester, bought the fish trap company and started Point Trap Co. in the late 1940s. I started around 1996, as a summer job though I grew up around it my whole life. My father fishes and my brothers grew up fishing, as well. "
How did you become involved with the business?"I needed a summer job and began by learning how to mend fishing nets; not too many people know how to do it and my father thought it would be a good idea, considering the guys doing it at the time were in their 70s and 80s. One day, they were short-handed on the boat and my dad told me to jump on. Once I started fishing, I couldn’t stop."
How long have you been selling fish via the Fulton Fish Market?"The company has been selling fish there since the beginning. On a recent trip there, some guys still remember my grandfather’s name!! But also, RI trap caught fish has a reputation for being as fresh as it gets. The fish are literally caught alive, packed and shipped to NY within a few hours. I’ve heard stories of fish still being alive when they open the box!"
Do you proudly feed your children fish and seafood?"I love the fact that I know exactly where it came from and how fresh it is. I don’t think my kids have had fish any other way. I think it always tastes better when you catch it yourself. It’s really cool for the kids to learn that and know where their food came from."
Do you have to fish on Mother’s Day or do you get a day off?"I don’t get any days off! Who will sell the fish?! ;) In 2017 I had Mother’s Day off for the first time ever because of a storm and we couldn’t fish. I always think of Mother’s Day as being the height of the scup run and one of our busiest days. If the weather is fit, the kids and husband join the trap crew for the day or they meet me at the dock with a gift and coffee."
Pictured above: Corey's son, Finn, at 7 months old.
At FultonFishMarket.com we believe that providing our customers with U.S. sourced fish and seafood is important for freshness and sustainability. What is your take on the importance of sustainable fishing and supporting U.S. Fishing industries?"I believe most fishermen are conservationists; we all believe in the future of fishing especially for future generations, I believe that more than ever especially being a mom." "That’s another reason I love the floating fish trap industry. It’s a passive fishery, in that the nets are set in the same spots, if the fish come to us we catch them; we don’t chase the fish. And because the fish are still alive when caught, we can throw anything we are not allowed because of quota or size restrictions overboard unharmed. We have very little by-catch discard, if any at all. It’s a really green fishery."
Your profession is certainly a male-dominated field and you are a pioneer. What would you tell the daughters of the world about your ambitions and your experience in this field?"It definitely is male-dominated. I’ve dealt with a lot and I think I’ve seen and heard it all. I’m often referred to just as “the girl”. From passersby I still get underestimated; they assume I’m the secretary (yes, I also handle a ton of paperwork and reports), or they walk right by me looking for the “boss”, ( I love when the whole crew points to me, “there’s the boss”) or they question me lifting boxes, or want to do the job for me, “girls shouldn’t do this”, driving the forklift, often asking “why don’t you wait for him do that?” My standard answer is usually, “because I’ll be waiting all day.”
"But out there, on the ocean, it’s one of the few places where everyone is Equal. It’s a dangerous job and The Ocean doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t care about your gender, race, religion, where you came from, or the fancy car you drive."
"As my dad says, 'If it were easy, everyone would do it.' "
Pictured above: Corey's daughter, Isley.
Pictured above: Corey's Father, Alan, Corey, and brother Luke.
"I absolutely love my job! Every day is different, fresh air, exercise, the camaraderie of the crew, and working with my dad and brother."
Pictured above: Corey texting her buyers from the boat.
"I believe there is a shift in that people want to know where their fish came from and practices used to fish. I know I can stand by my product proudly."
Pictured above: Corey's daughter, Isley, helping mom at work.