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Buckskin Giants of The Eastern Frontier-Independence Day 2014-Celebration of Freedom

PHOTO CREDIT-ROB RUSSO

East Greenwich News-One of the things that sets East Greenwich and Rhode Island apart from most of the other states in the union, is the presence of a particular brand of independent, rugged individuals called quahauggers (forget the other spellings, they are all derivations of this, the original word from the Narragansett tongue, that of the original people who were settled in R.I. before the coming of the white man, who, like they did with just about everything they touched, twisted it and ruined it and changed it. The original word was pauquahauck. Of course the English, who wanted to spell and say it their way changed it to quahog, quohog, quahog etc. It should be quahaug.)

READ MORE FROM ORIGINAL STORY (scroll down)...

Photo credit-Rob Russo

 

Jim and Anthony Russo work the tail end of a blizzard in Greenwich Bay on the Whaleback Whaler

Jim and Anthony Russo work pre-blizzard conditions in Greenwich Bay on the Whaleback Whaler

 

 

Day in the Life: Bounty of the Bay

full rakeEach morning, dedicated groups of quahoggers leave from docks scattered throughout Narragansett Bay to dig up the natural and native bounty waiting to be harvested. Twenty-plus years ago, more than 2,000 commercial fishermen were quahoggers; this year there are 534 active licensed commercial quahoggers, and even fewer call it their full-time profession. Robert Russo, a twenty-six-year-old Bristol native, shares what it’s like to live the life of a Rhode Island quahogger. Read more…  Photo credit-Rob Russo

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April 29, 2013 Boston Fish Pier Rally Demands Disaster Deceleration for New England Fishing Industry

Harvesting The Bay – Fathers, Sons and Last of The Wild Shellfishermen

In an in-depth study of the Rhode Island shellfishing community where he was raised, a journalist celebrates the lives of his father and grandfather and probes the nature of sustainability.

Huling describes the physically demanding life of these fishermen who haul the hard-shell clams, known as quahogs, from the depths of Narragansett Bay by using long-handled tools called bullrakes. In the author’s opinion, the sustainable lifestyle of the bullraker represents a model for a radical shift that must take place in how our society values hard physical labor. Read more….

Fatal Forecast

I was fortunate to learn early in my fishing career at the age of 21, that the laws of nature do not follow the laws of man. I was sailing on the 83′ F/V Edna May out of Sakonnet Point, Rhode Island, to haul lobster traps that were set along the Atlantis Canyon region of the Continental Shelf. These areas are known as ‘The Fish Tail,’ and the ‘Fathom Curves’- about 100 miles south of RI. This was late November – the 22nd, 1980 – the forecast was for fair weather all 3 days of our trip. 

By earlfatalforecasty morning of the second day we began experiencing 100 mph early winter winds with mountainous seas. This storm was a classic example ofExplosive Storm Cyclogenesis-or Weather Bomba Storm that builds up to extreme intensity from nothing in a virtual instant. 
 
Unlike in the story and movie Perfect Storm, where weather forecasters predicted the combination of storms that would create the Perfect Storm, this storm came out of nowhere, and showed the men plotting that nature follows its own rules. Bobby Brown of the Perfect Storm fame and his son Peter play a major part in this story.
 
Michael Tougias did a great job describing the unfolding disaster that went down as the day with the most distress calls in New England history- and it’s miraculous ending. Check out Fatal Forecast!
Copyright 2010-2016 Jim Russo FreeAndCommon.com All rights reserved

10/3/15 Sakonnet Lobster Sinks South of Block Island

10/3/16

The Sakonnet Lobster and the Edna May had fished together offshore for lobsters since the early 1980’s. Gary Mataronas owns the Edna May, and his brother Jimmy owned the Sakonnet Lobster.

On October 3, 2016, the Sakonnet Lobster sank 40 miles south of Block Island RI. Fortunately all hands got off safely. Check out the dramatic helicopter rescue of the crew in the linked story. I made several fill in trips on the Sakonnet Lobster in the early days, so this story is a little close to home for me. Jimmy and Gary Mataronas caught a lot of lobsters over the years! See linked story…..

 

Photo credit:eastbayri.com

Fatal Forecast Seas

These are two great videos of what conditions were like during the Fatal Forecast event. This video was taken from a 300′ ship, much larger than the fishing boats that were caught in the Fatal Forecast storm!

The 50′ steel hulled lobster boat Fairwind ‘pitchpoled’, or flipped end over end, coming down the backside of a huge combing breaker (sea) in conditions very much like in this video. Out of four crew onboard the Fairwind, only Ernie Hazard survived.  His story of surviving almost 48 hours in a liferaft and a survival suit in conditions similar to conditions in the video is a miracle, and defines the limits of human endurance and will to live.

Rouge Waves 100 Feet High Finally Documented

On February 15, 1982, the offshore oil drilling rig Ocean Ranger was struck by a rogue wave off the coast of Newfoundland that measured almost 100′ high.  This enormous rig capsized (it was held in place by twelve 45,000 pound anchors) and sank after being hit by the rogue wave, killing all 84 crew members.

I was on the Ocean Ranger 3 years earlier when it was conducting exploratory drilling 65 miles off the coast of New Jersey in 1978-9. I was 19 years old at the time, and was working for Peabody Coastal Services doing fuel quality and pollution control work out of Davisville RI. Ode and respect to the power of the ocean! (Ocean Ranger in Cook Inlet AK-Wiki Photo)

 

S.H.A.R.C. – Sandy Hook Alliance of Real Clammers

S.H.A.R.C.-Sandy Hook Alliance of Real Clammers is a fishermans rights organization started in the fall of 2006 in Highlands N.J. whose main objective is to protect the rights of commercial fisherman and their way of life, and to get rid of NEMO.

The ‘Swim That Rock’ website is dedicated to the clamming legend Greg King, who was a member of  S.H.A.R.C.-Sandy Hook Alliance of Real Clammers, in his final days as a Bayman.

Check out their Facebook page…

Ice Breaking On The Justin Time-Winter 2014/5

Captain Joe Amato and his crew breaking ice on the Justin Time, East Greenwich Yacht Club-Winter 2014/5

Photo credit-Jim Russo

Copyright 2010-2016 Jim Russo FreeAndCommon.com All rights reserved

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Who Cares?

Who Cares?

While working on this Free and Common project over the years, and my experience as a lifelong RI Quahogger, I was asked and told countless times by those involved in RI Quahogging, “WHO CARES ABOUT THESE ISSUES??? JUST GO TO WORK, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, AND DON’T THINK ABOUT IT!” because “THERE IS NOTHING YOU ARE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!!!!

Plato’s Allegory of The Cave in real life!

Hopefully, the tide has turned on this self-defeating attitude that seems rampant in RI. HOPE IS THE STATE MOTTO!!! LETS HOPE….

Photo credit-Jim Russo

Copyright 2010-2016 Jim Russo FreeAndCommon.com All rights reserved

 

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Jimmy Wampum – RI Mussel Man

“I fed about 3500 people a wild, organic, and nutritious seafood product with that one boatload, which took a few hours to get. It was such a great feeling to take an underutilized  food source that was just lying at the bottom of Narragansett Bay, in unimaginable abundance, and feed people with it. The best part of the mussel boom of 2009-2010 was the fact that it was a rare fishery that ‘the management’ had not destroyed by limiting in any way, beyond permitting and licensing. By the time ‘the management’ noticed the Narragansett Bay mussel fishery, which had not been seen in 20-30 years, the mussel resource was already well into it’s second boom year. The few guys that were involved in the fishery watched the mussels go through their normal 2-3 year growth cycle, then watched them all die off within a matter of weeks. There was nothing left to manage, thanks to mother nature. The most amazing part of the mussel fishery was-‘the experts and management’  knew virtually nothing about it, which meant the didn’t have a chance to ruin it!” Jim Russo/2014

Photo credits-Autumn Francesca

Copyright 2010-2016 Jim Russo FreeAndCommon.com All rights reserved

 

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THE Saltiest Seaside Shanty

This is one of the few AUTHORIZED photo’s of THE Saltiest Seaside Shanty in existence, and Free and Common is honored to host it!!!

The legend of THE Saltiest Seaside Shanty is-The shrunken skeleton of the starving RI Quahogger appears eerily in the top window on nights around every moon, asking for the Free and Common back, as well as any quahog ground that the management has taken over the years…a hauntingly familiar message it is…

Photo credit-Jim Russo

Copyright 2010-2016 Jim Russo FreeAndCommon.com All rights reserved IMG_1034

Nature’s Wild Perfection

THIS IS NATURE’S WILD PERFECTION-THE ONE THAT MAN CAN ONLY DREAM OF DUPLICATING WITH AQUACULTURE!!!!!  PHOTO CREDIT-PJ RUSSO

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Biggie Smalls Quahogs

Natures perfection and biodiversity that man can only dream of matching with aquaculture!

Photo credit-Phil ‘PJ’ Russo

Copyright 2010-2016 Jim Russo FreeAndCommon.com All rights reserved

 

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