Published: "Keeping at Bay" for The Local Palate
On the outskirts of Apalachicola, Rodney Rich is one of a dying breed. Not just an oysterman, he is one of two people who still make the iconic tool of the oyster trade: 16-foot long oyster tongs.
Terry and I drove out and spent an afternoon with Rodney and the friends and family who work and spend their off hours with him at his workshop.
The oyster industry is hanging on by a thread on Florida's Lost Coast. Frightened overfishing in the wake of the BP oil spill, an altered water profile in the river that feeds the bay, and numerous other factors have contributed to lack of product and a concomitant lack of incentive for the next generation to pursue the profession.
The long-term effect on the area remains to be seen. As things stand now, an entire way of Florida life hangs by a thread. It is a privilege when I get a chance to help document Florida's remaining fishing culture.
TLP published the first four images and Terry's interview with Rodney in their November 2016 issue. I included a few outtakes in this post to add context to Rodney's incredibly photogenic working environment.