As part of its efforts to support commercial fishermen on the Island, the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust will host its first Meet the Fleet event at Menemsha Harbor next Thursday.

1947 eastern-rig dragger Roann returns to the Vineyard; she was last here as whaling ship Charles W. Morgan's escort. — Mark Lovewell

Much of the Island’s commercial fleet will be docked in the harbor, with current and retired fishermen available to answer questions and offer demonstrations in their trade. The three-hour event will also include crab races and other activities for kids.

Three historic ships will be on hand during the day, including the 1947 eastern-rig dragger Roann, now owned and maintained by Mystic Seaport, and the Vineyard’s own historic draggers Richard & Arnold and Little Lady. At least 10 boats, along with their captains, are expected to take part in the event.

The event will highlight commercial fishing on the Vineyard, which faces an uphill battle with complicated state and federal regulations and rising costs. The preservation trust recently marked a significant milestone, partnering with The Nature Conservancy to purchase the Island’s last federal groundfish permit. A limited number of local fishermen can now lease the groundfish quota at an affordable rate.

Trust president John Keene said late last week the quota could be leased on demand, even as fishermen are at sea. “It’s kind of flexible that way,” he said. The quota can also be divided according to groundfish species, which include cod, haddock, pollock and other bottom-dwelling fish.

The permit was held by Greg Mayhew, captain of the Unicorn, a 75-foot dragger out of Menemsha Harbor. But it is unclear whether the Unicorn will be part of the Meet the Fleet event. The iconic blue ship with its tall outriggers and shaggy green netting is now without any state or federal permits and has deteriorated in recent years. Mr. Keene said he expects it would be sold for scrap, although that has not been confirmed.

Richard & Arnold was one of last working wooden fishing boats on the East Coast. — Mark Lovewell

One long-term goal for the trust is to acquire the Unicorn permit outright from The Nature Conservancy, along with other types of permits. “[If we] actually accumulate them, then we can start leasing them out to fishermen that want to go dragging, or target other species,” Mr. Keene said.

The trust is also working to set up a revolving loan fund to assist local fishermen with various costs associated with their business. Other efforts focus on raising awareness of the challenges facing the industry. With a website and public meetings, the trust sees itself largely as a conduit for public information.

“The fisheries aren’t hopeless,” Mr. Keene said. “Hopefully we can get some donations and we can spark some interest for fishermen that might feel overwhelmed to try to even put their foot in the door.”

Meet the Fleet will take place from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, August 6, at Menemsha Harbor.