He wades through the ankle-deep mud and for a few minutes all you can hear is the smacking of rubber boots and the seagulls screeching overhead. Sky, earth and the shallow sea in between blur into a monochrome end-of-time backdrop on this freezing cold day. Tom Haward trudges through them laboriously in his oilskin: a small yellow dot in the large gray that bends down every now and then to pick oysters from the mud. Then he turns around and grins: “Welcome to my world. I love her.”
Who knows how long it will still exist.
On this early Monday morning in February he went out on the “Jacqueline Anne” to the oyster beds off the island of Mersea in the east of England, which have provided his family with an income for centuries. “We are probably the oldest oyster company in the world,” says Tom Haward, 39 years old, button-eyed and hipster beard, which they jokingly call “8th gen” – the eighth generation.
The ninth is already on the way, in April Haward’s partner is expecting their first child. It is supposed to step into his father’s rubber boot prints. But recently he is no longer sure what the future will bring. “I wish I wasn’t right,” snorts Haward, “but I’ve always said Brexit will ruin the British fishing industry.”