PROVINCETOWN — The wheelhouse of the Goody Hallet was devoid of the clutter that always seems to accumulate on the bridge of all fishing vessels. In the harsh light of the fluorescent tubes overhead, it had the empty feel of a new apartment before the furniture arrived.
Eastham fisherman Scott Nolan, 57, mortgaged his home, used all his retirement savings and took out loans to buy the 80-foot New Bedford fish dragger and refit it with the massive apparatus needed to go sea clamming. He had been fishing it since only this spring.
After a 36-hour trip, working around the clock, the Goody Hallet tied up at the end of MacMillan Pier and crewmen Max Nolan and Tim Klekotka removed the decking over the big hold where wire cages filled with clams awaited transfer to an idling trailer truck.
At 5 a.m., sleep-starved but alert, standing next to the big wooden ship's wheel, Nolan explained that his small business employed three full-time crewmen and one part-timer and contributed to the incomes of a welder, a truck driver and others. But, like many new businessmen, Nolan, 57, wasn't sure whether he himself was making money yet.
One thing he was certain of was that his bottom line was helped substantially by the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust, which leased him the majority of the sea clam quota he needed at rates half what he would have had to pay on the open market.
"It's a huge help that they've done that," Nolan said of the impact of paying that discounted rate had on being able to make his business work in the first year.