Tell us a little about who you are and what you do.
My name is Corey Wheeler Forrest, married to an Irish lad from Cork, Ireland for 20 years. We have two children, Finn, 18, and Isley, 14. I am a third generation commercial fisherman and fish dealer.
How long has your family been in the fishing industry?
My family has been fishing out of Sakonnet Point in Little Compton, Rhode Island since the 1940s.
What does it mean to you to carry on this tradition with your family? We are part of Rhode Island’s oldest, sustainable fishery called trap fishing where we use big floating nets and haul by hand, fingers in the twine. We are some of the last to fish this way.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m usually up before my alarm goes off at 4:10am. I like my mornings quiet and slow before the boat leaves the dock. Sunscreen, brew the coffee, I usually make a healthy smoothie to drink later in the day. I love the slow 25 min drive to work, coffee in hand, audio book playing, as the sun rises through farm land, passed stone walls, to the dead end that is literally our dock at Sakonnet Point. We head out toward our fish traps at 6am off the coast of Newport, about a 40 minute boat ride. We harvest the fish, head back to the dock and offload the boat: sort, box, ice, and load the truck for shipping. I also handle selling all the fish to buyers up and down the east coast, plus paperwork and reporting all we catch to a fisheries website.
Who have some of your biggest influences been, both in the fishing industry and in your life in general?
I'm grateful for the fishermen, including my dad, and my fish dealers, who genuinely welcomed me, in a still very male-dominated industry, and showed me the ropes; it’s not all calm seas and picturesque sunrises. Outside the fishing industry, I've always found solace in books, female authors and poets. It’s a welcome counter-balance.
What do you like to do for fun off of the boat?
My dad, 74, and I, go for a beach run/ride most days after work. I'm on foot, he’s on a fat tire bike and at the end, we reward ourselves by jumping in the water. It's a good way to end the day.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I have a special place in my heart for Vermont. I attended college there (Saint Michael’s College class of 1999) and it definitely helped instill my love for the outdoors and wide-open spaces. Oh, and cheese.