Clammers ask county help on leases

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Expansion comes in time of low prices

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

The Cedar Key Aquaculture Association is not happy with the state agency overseeing clam leases and has asked the Levy County Commission for help. 

They are asking the county to send a letter saying it does not approve of a proposal to add 157 new 2-acre leases to the 251 already in existence. The commissioners agreed with the association's case and has instructed County Coordinator Fred Moody and County Attorney Anne Bast Brown to draft a letter for them to approve at their Tuesday meeting.

Leslie Sturmer, Levy County Aquaculture Extension agent, told the commission at the May 21 meeting that the 20-year-old clam industry in Cedar Key has a $35 million impact on the island's economy and is a top producer of clams for the country. 

But, she said, clam prices are at historic lows and it is not a good time for the expansion. 

Sturmer, Rose Cantwell and Ricky Cooke, of the aquaculture association, and CK City Commissioner Sue Colson told the commission they need their help to stop the state plan.

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