Gary Hathcox’s boat is named after his grandson’s first words: “Baby Cakes.” His other boat is named “Sheila Baby,” after his wife. The two boats make up Gary’s fleet; a good day on the water can bring in over 5,000 pounds of clams.
But things haven’t always been smooth sailing for Gary’s fleet. 20 years ago a controversial ban on net fishing changed the makeup of the fishing community, forcing nets nine miles offshore and crippling the commercial industry. Many of the fishers we spoke with - most of whom were third or fourth generation fishers - were forced to change tacts completely.
Some, like Gary’s crew, turned to aquaculture - and began cultivating and harvesting clams.
Here a fourth-generation fisher moves clams on the boat - and begrudgingly acknowledges the camera - while his fellow clam harvesters prepare to tumble the days catch.
Cedar Key, Florida. December 22, 2017.