CLAM GROWERS CATCH A WAVE
Oct 4, 1999 - Bill Thompson of Indian River County, Florida, knows the cultivation of clams has changed a lot in the 10 years he's been in the business. "We've learned how to protect our crop better. We stake a second layer of mesh over the seeds to protect them better from predators. Also new techniques to provide better circulation for the young clams help them grow out faster."
Better production methods aren't the only changes for clam producers in the Florida counties of Brevard, Indian River, Dixie, and Levy. Bill also plans to be one of the first clam producers to sign up for the pilot cultivated clam insurance program. "Back in 1995, Hurricane Erin caused a lot of losses among producers in Indian River. With this new program, I plan to have my own insurance to cover any future losses."
Leslie Sturmer of the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service was instrumental in bringing together RMA offices with Florida producers and insurance representatives to help provide input into program development and promote the advantages of the insurance.
The pilot program, which covers the hard-shell or quahog species will provide RMA its first experience with aquaculture. Also available in select counties in Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Virginia, the program design aims to document the diverse cultivation cultures in the different climates that will become the basis for a nationwide program.