Working the Wharf

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A worker aboard Jessie Taylor Seafood fish-produce boat at the Maine Ave. Fish Market.

WASHINGTON, DC, 12 October 2014– The Maine Ave. Fish Market of southeast D.C. is the oldest operating fish market in the United States. Donnie Pham has been working  at Jesse Taylor Seafood for 12 years. Pham (pictured at right) is the manager of the cook-boat for Jesse Taylor Seafood Co. which monopolizes two of the three strips of vendors at the market square. His daily environment consists of Maryland Blue Crab, that he steams on location for customers, freshly shucked sweet oysters and peel-and-eat shrimp. Fresh seafood is delivered to vendors at the Wharf off barges traveling from the Chesapeake Bay or as far as North Carolina.

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Donnie Pham of Jesse Taylor Fish Co., displays a steamed crab aboard the cook-boat he manages.

Over the next few years, Pham and the other market employees will witness a shift in their work environment, as a $2 billion redevelopment project makes headway to transform the Wharf into a mile of traversable shoreline.

Since the 1950s, the family of Jessie Taylor continues to run their seafood business off the Washington Channel. According to a Washington Post article from March 2014 detailing the waterfront’s transformation, the Jesse Taylor “shop  will be adjacent to a 505-unit apartment building featuring outdoor cabanas, grills and rooftop vegetable gardens,” once the project is finished by 2017.

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