CEDAR KEY — When Anna Hodges began harvesting clams in 1994, she earned 9 cents a clam. Now she gets 7 cents, but over half of what she and her husband, Mike — owners of Hodges Seafood — produce goes unsold because they say the market is saturated.
"We have (clam) farmers losing homes. We have clams out there dying," Anna said on Tuesday afternoon, from their clam boat in Cedar Key that cut through waters divvied up by barnacled poles — marking off the "leases," or plots of sea bottom where the clams are grown.
Only a couple of farmers stood working in shoulder-high water, an image reflecting the reality of the town's threatened livelihood — at least if you're a small clam farmer, which many people in this seaside hamlet are.
The farmers oppose state government's proposal to expand leases, which they say would increase clam production and concentrate it in the hands of local wholesaler Clamtastic Seafood Inc., whose production of clams the farmers contend has already caused clam prices to plummet.
"This lease expansion would throw us over the edge," said Mike Hodges, 55, who has been farming clams for 19 years. These days he spends only one day a week on the boat harvesting clams. He wishes it was more. "The rest of the time I spend patching nets," he said, adding that this was work he once hired out.
Read the full story at Ocala Star Banner>>
National Fisherman Live: 9/9/14
In this episode:
Seafood Watch upgrades status of 21 fish species
Calif. bill attacking seafood mislabeling approved
Ballot item would protect Bristol Bay salmon
NOAA closes cod, yellowtail fishing areas
Pacific panel halves young bluefin harvest
National Fisherman Live: 8/26/14
In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about his early days dragging for redfish on the Vandal.
More than a dozen higher education institutions and federal and local fishery management agencies and organizations in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at building the capacity of the U.S. Pacific Island territories to manage their fisheries and fishery-related resources.