Folklife & Culture


Vinnie THE CLAM Carvalho, longtime RI Quahogger/fisherman, and his right hand man, BUNKY

If it’s not WILD, what is it? – Vinnie The Clam

Folklife has been an important part of human evolution ever since there was human evolution. The simple definition of folklife is; learning how to do things better by watching how others do it, and learning better ways from each other, which promotes human evolution. Rhode Island quahogging was one of the best examples of what folklife was in our modern times.

The incredible folklife that existed on Narragansett Bay when there were 2-3000 quahoggers during the 1980’s and 90’s has essentially disappeared with the dwindling numbers of fishers. The number of quahoggers working the Bay now averages somewhere between 50-150 a day.  This human evolutionary process on Narragansett Bay has been taken over by aquaculture, where the folklife, and the learning from each, other has been consolidated and privatized  into the hands of the few from the intelligentsia-namely, University of RI (URI), Roger Williams University (RWU) and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) through the RI Shellfish Management Plan (RI SMP).

Human evolution in the coastal areas of RI has, in it’s most basic and simple form, been hijacked by a relatively few people that want to control the intellectual property of bio diversity and human evolution, at the detriment of many. The professor, University, or aquaculture farmer/corporation that can find the elusive ‘silver bullet’ aquaculture method of conquering mother nature’s built in fail-safes to mans meddling with bio diversity and evolution, through aquaculture, stands to be rich and famous. This is the battle for evermore.

It’s really that simple. Pure ignorance and greed fueled by the enormous egos of men that think they can do better than natures abundant perfection, A perfection that they can only dream of duplicating.

Copyright 2010-2019 Jim Russo. All rights reserved

Photo credits-Above Jim Russo Below-Phil and Rob Russo


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