Shareen Davis co-founder of Cape Cod CSF. She is wife, artist, mother, fisher, and ceaseless advocate of the fisheries!
She’s been fishing, or working for fishermen for over 30 years with her husband, Ernie at the Trap Docks down at Stage Harbor in Chatham. She, her husband and her two daughters, Shannon and Morgan grew up in a maritime tradition of fishing weir traps in Nantucket Sound.
Shareen and her family own and oversee the Trap Docks at Stage Harbor working on their boats and packing fish. The trap dock is also the new home of the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership.
Shareen’s current work with the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership is as an outreach coordinator assisting Cape Cod fishermen with insurance and safety training information. Her roots however extend way back to the 70’s when she and other members of the Fishermen’s Wives Coalition, aware of the communities’ dependence on a vital working waterfront, fought and got an act of Congress to dredge the channel leading to Chatham’s municipal fishing pier in Aunt Lydia’s Cove. A natural connect for Davis meeting many of the Chatham fishermen who began their at sea careers earning teenage dollars crewing for her husband, Ernie at Stage Harbor.
Shareen has since served on the Board of Directors of a local fishing association where she was asked to weigh in on issues affecting the local fishing industry and worked hard for Community-based fisheries management. Lessons learned in the fishery are paralleled in the film, A Fish Story. Issues from the local to regional confronting fishing families are told through the eyes of two women from two historical fishing towns, Gloucester and Chatham, MA. The film, completed in 2006 portrays the challenges of a family confronted with the survival of their business in the face of strict conservation regulations and the dwindling support of a centuries-old method of fishing.
It’s no secret that food, fish and art are inter-related in the lives of fishing families, Davis’ work as a photographer primarily addresses issues surrounding fishing. The images she took for the Nereid Network- Cape Cod Fishermen’s calendar in 2001 and 2002 raised over $80,000 in scholarship money for the children of fishing families and gained recognition in the media, both nationally and internationally. Davis’ work also involved promoting local seafood as a photographer for the grant funded, Cape Cod Seafood Journal in 1998. The journal dedicated to promoting fisheries and local cuisine was well ahead of its time in promoting local foods.
Local photographs of fishermen depicted not only the diversity of the local industry but also the seasonality of fish caught in the calendar year. Orders flew in across the country and a second calendar of Cape Cod Fisherwomen followed suit.
Film led to more photography and more work dedicated to the portrayal of fishermen with the aid of the lens. Her photographs capture a wide number of subjects connecting community to the sea, both politically and environmentally. Her work continued to be represented by the Nickerson Gallery, which she co-founded in 2009.
The time is right now for all things, – art, family, fishing and food – to come together on the docks. The Trap Dock now features a second story space at Stage Harbor housing the Cape Cod office for Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership. Shareen’s work with the Partnership now involves helping Cape Cod fishermen, fishing industry workers and their families with health and financial needs.
But Shareen’s concept of family has grown larger than a husband, two daughters and her grandchildren – her hope is that people will see the value of a commercial working waterfront dock that serves the community at large, as well as fisher folk. Plans for the second story space include creative publishing services for artists and writers and for folks wanting to create memoirs and archive photographs. She and her business partner have planned art seminars at sea aboard the 75-foot Sloop Tyrone and classes like yoga, lectures on the dock along with photography walks right beside the commercial fishing activities. She also welcomes ideas…