There was a time not so long ago when men (and it was always men) could earn a decent living quahogging on Narragansett Bay. These days, the number of full-time quahoggers is dwindling and young full-timers are fewer still.
"Few members of Grant’s generation have taken up shellfishing as a livelihood. He can think of only four or five other quahoggers younger than 30. One of the reasons for the shortage of young people, he said, is cost.
“To get going with a nice set-up,” Grant said, “it would take $5,000 to $7,000, and that’s a big nut to crack right off the bat.... But the larger challenge, Grant said, is the discipline required to make a fishing career work. “It takes a different kind of person to be a fisherman,” he said. “It takes self-motivation to go to work. The best part of the job is that you get to be your own boss. And the worst part is that you have to be your own boss.”
According to the article, state agencies have teamed up on a Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan. This two-year project, which began last January, will examine a range of issues and opportunities related to the state’s shellfish resources.
“We need a better understanding of what makes the industry thrive, both biologically speaking and economically speaking,” Grant said, acknowledging the tensions between quahoggers and state regulators.
“These are Rhode Island’s clams,” Grant is quoted saying in the article. “And we’re managing them for the future.”