Tangier Island is a small island in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Shallows, aquatic vegetation and salt marshes surround the island. The countless acres of aquatic grasses provide a nursery environment for young blue crabs and other marine life.
The local fishery for soft shelled crabs provides an important source of income for watermen. Tangier Island fishermen catch crabs by traps, nets or scrapes and then hold them in tanks until they molt. The resulting soft shelled crab is world famous as a seafood delicacy.
The island also recognized for its birdwatching, saltwater fishing, and winter waterfowl hunting. Tourism has become an important business for residents. Tour boats from Crisfield, Onancock and other local ports visit the island on a regular basis.
Tangier Island received national attention in 2010 when the island and several of its 507 residents were featured in an ESPN television advertising campaign. The ESPN commercials declared the island “the biggest sports town in America per capita”.
The island has also been the subject of several television documentaries which portray the residents’ unique way of life.
Located just across the Maryland state line is Smith Island.