Clammers fear Cedar Key lease expansion

CEDAR KEY – Cedar Key is one of the top producers of clams for the nation. That may be changing though. As the industry is taking a hard hit now that clam prices are at a record low. However a possible lease expansion in Cedar Key may become a new opportunity for some wholesalers, but independent clammers fear the abundance of clams will further depreciate the price.
 
Clammers met with the director of the state department of aquaculture, to discuss whether or not cedar key would expand its clam leases. And while the tone of the meeting escalated rather quickly, most clammers in attendance worry their businesses could be washed away.
 
“It’s hard to get a sale,” said Mike Hodges who has been clamming for about 20 years now. He says clam prices are lower than ever, dropping from 12 cents to 7 cents a clam. “You’re lucky if you can get 10 bushels a week sale. Which 10 bushels a week ten years ago would bring $1100-1200 to a farmer a week. Now a 10 bushel sale of clams is barely $600,” Hodges said.

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