In one little office off of one little dock in the little village of St. Marys, Ga., the entire story of Southeastern commercial fishing is embodied in Calvin Lang. He proudly displays photo albums that show the growth and demise of his fleet over more than five decades.
Calvin Lang: "I bought my first shrimp boat in 1949. Eventually had 18 of them. Fished from Charleston to Freeport, Texas. Shrimp was good right on through the early 1990s. Then straight downhill. You know, all seafood has gone down. Fishing, crabs, shrimping. All of it. There's just not a lot of shrimp. That's what comes with all the people. We're getting killed by imports, farm-raised shrimp. Prices are way down. Now I've just got two boats. I'm the last on the waterfront. Business is so bad in places like Key West, I quit going there in 1988. I do what I have to do to keep going, to keep my last boats going."
Gale Ginn and Ronald Washington are working on one of Lang's boats.
Ginn: "There's no money to do more. No preventive maintenance. We found some rotted wood when we went to replace an anchor chute. We replaced what we got to."
Ronald Washington: "We're s'posed to be done today. Won't happen."