It's been almost 32 years since Juke Marshall showed up on the cover of National Geographic as a shaggy, blond-haired boy, getting nipped on the finger by a blue crab. He'd been poking around in the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay when photographer David Alan Harvey captured his image for the November 1973 story "This Is My Island, Tangier."
"I got some teasing and kidding around from the other kids on the island because of that photo," says Marshall, who spent his boyhood summers on Tangier Island, Virginia, crabbing. He'd sell some of his catch for pocket money and give the rest to his mother, who turned them into spicy crab cakes, the "pride of island kitchens," wrote author Harold G. Wheatley in 1973.
But a lot has changed in Marshall's life since then. About ten years ago he gave up commercial crabbing, a way of life that has sustained Tangier households since the 1890s. Years of heavy harvests and environmental changes in the bay had dropped the spawning female crab population by 84 percent, and Virginia reacted with regulations that Marshall, a sixth-generation waterman, found too stiff.