The Cedar Key clam farming industry is receiving widespread attention as the University of Florida selected its story to showcase in their new campaign – For the Gator Good. Community and industry leaders were interviewed this summer and are featured in a story entitled When a Town’s Industry Shuts Down, Does the World Have to End?
The story is introduced: “Every day in towns across the world, businesses and even entire industries shut their doors, weakening the economy and leaving millions without a livelihood. After the ban of oyster harvesting and fishing nets in Florida in 1994, commercial fishermen in Cedar Key and along the Gulf Coast were struggling. Without the ability to catch their staples of mullet, oysters and crabs, they would need to find a sustainable economic alternative to preserve their town’s coastal heritage. But the hard-working people of Cedar Key were able to remake themselves and revitalize their town. With the innovative process of aquaculture, they began raising clams in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way.”
Interviewed were Sue Colson with the City of Cedar Key, Mike and Heath Davis of Cedar Key Seafarms, Shawn Stephenson of Southern Cross Sea Farms, Bobby Witt of Scale Key Clam Farm, and Leslie Sturmer, UF shellfish aquaculture extension agent.
Their messages were heard nationwide as the Cedar Key Story was aired on ESPN TV during the Florida versus Florida State University football game over the Thanksgiving weekend. According to Sports Media Watch’s television ratings, 4.28 million people viewed the game. Although the Gators lost badly to their rival, the publicity for the clam farming industry could not be beat!