Cedar Key is a small island community nearby. It's a closeknit town of people who make a living on the water or feeding tourists seafood at several restaurants that line the tiny waterfront. They boast the smallest public school in the state...the graduating class of this pre-K to 12th grade school is often 9 or 10 kids.
The picture below shows stone crab traps lined up along a dock. I wrote about stone crabs early on in this blog, but just to refresh your memory, these are the crabs that are released alive after the claws are taken. A few molts later and they have new claws for us to take again.
Lots of tiny docks like the one below jut out into the sheltered waters of the bayou. Most have little bits of land to go with them...just enough to park your truck for loading and offloading traps and crabs.
The photo below shows a Cedar Key feature that did not exist 20 years ago, and yet are now found anywhere there is a bit of space next to the water.
The small shed structure to the right is a clam nursery. Beneath the shed roof are wooden trays lined with plastic. In the trays are tiny baby clams, called "seed". When the clam farmer purchased them from the hatchery, they were about the size of a grain of sand. They will stay in this shoreside nursery for a while until they get about the size of your pinky fingernail.
The white PVC pipe is part of the recirculating system that pumps plankton laden seawater through the trays and back to the bayou. The clams filter out the yummy plankton and change it into yummy clam flesh.
Once the little clamlings reach that fingernail size, they are transported a little ways offshore to the clamfarmers seabottom lease. There they will be placed on the mud, in mesh bags that allow them to filter feed while keeping them together and keeping predators at bay.
In 9 to 15 months, depending on weather conditions, they will reach marketable size and sell wholesale for 12 to 15 cents each. A farmer may have several million clams on his or her lease at any one time.
Do the math.
...riddle me this...one more day until...