The dock party was organized by the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust, a nonprofit formed in 2011 by residents concerned that fishing as a commercial livelihood was dying because of dwindling stocks, tighter regulations and the high cost of entry. For the past three years, the group’s been quite active, meeting every two weeks to get ideas to jell. Then, in January, Shelley Edmundson, one of the regular attendees, came on as executive director. It’s not a coincidence that she recently earned her doctorate in marine biology, studying channeled whelk, large marine snails that are often confused with conchs because of the shape of their shells. Whelk is considered a delicacy in Asia, and it is now the Vineyard’s largest fishery. It’s caught using baited traps, much the same way lobsters are harvested, and many of the Vineyard’s 25 or so whelk fishermen also carry lobster permits.