Tag Archives: lobstermen

L.I. Sound lobstermen avoid regulatory pincers

Lobstermen working Long Island Sound dodged new limits on their fishery last week when federal regulators failed to adopt restrictions aimed at reversing a decades-long decline in the lobster population. An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted down additional management measures, including a reduction in the size of lobster that could be harvested and a shorter season. “We are ecstatic,” said Mike Kalaman, a Norwalk lobstermen who believes the population is returning on its own, thanks to cleaner water and natural cycles. “We keep telling them that what’s in place is working,” Kalaman said. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. It’s fixing itself.” The decision by the American Lobster Management Board to defeat fishing restrictions was unusual; the board almost always adopts new management measures. The proposal on the table, developed by experts after months of research and deliberation, failed after numerous votes by a divided board. click here to read the story 08:20

RI And MA Lobstermen At Odds With Regulators Over Conservation Effortsclick here to read the story

Maine lobstermen serve booming world market

From trade deals in Europe and China, to the price per pound customers pay at the dock for their nightly dinner, York is a microcosm for both the uber international and the uber local sides of the lobster industry. And local lobstermen serving both markets are just pleased to see the lobsters here are finally shedding their shells and are getting hungry, filling traps that up until now have been pretty light due to colder than usual ocean temperatures during June and early July.,,, Jeff White, president of the York Lobstermen’s Association, said this season is “more like 20 years ago. You never expected to get anything until the middle of July. Why is it different? I really don’t know. The lobsters know and they’re not telling. click here to read the story 09:10

Maine Lobstermen Say They Aren’t Harming Threatened Coral Beds

The fragile deep-sea corals that populate the canyon walls and basins in the Gulf of Maine provide habitat for many species of fish as well as baby lobster, crabs and squid. But the New England Fisheries Management Council has concluded that the northeast coral beds are threatened when they are disturbed by commercial fishing operations and is weighing new restrictions that could affect Maine.  The council held a public hearing in Ellsworth Thursday night, where lobstermen spoke in support of a plan that protects coral colonies while still allowing them to haul their traps.  Most of the lobstermen who spoke agree that the coral beds in the Gulf of Maine play an important role in the overall health of the marine ecosystem. And most, such as Cranberry Isles fisherman Jack Merrill, think that Maine lobstermen and the coral beds have been getting along well for decades. Click here to read the story 18:21

South Shore lobstermen dismayed by failed bid for longer season

Lobstermen are busy loading their boats with traps and buoys and getting their gear back in the water after a three-month closure lifted this week for most of the South Shore. But Marshfield lobsterman John Haviland said he is starting the season feeling more disenchanted than ever after federal regulators turned down a proposal to allow lobstermen to fish year-round with a new rope line designed to reduce the chance of entangling endangered whales. “I’m disappointed that we put three years worth of research and meetings into trying to do the right thing, and it was not successful,” Haviland, president of the South Shore Lobster Fishermen’s Association, said. “It makes you question if you should keep doing the one thing you’ve always done.” Since 2015, federal regulations have banned the use of lobstering equipment from Feb. 1 to April 30 off Cape Cod Bay and beyond, shutting down the local industry for the winter. The goal is to reduce the chances of whales becoming entangled in the gear. click here to read the article 12:09

Conecticut lobstermen fighting for survival

Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation wants to make sure that Connecticut Lobster Fishermen get their two cents in before they change any fishing plans for Southern New England. Lobster fishermen, fighting for survival, are being asked to speak up before federal regulators make a new lobster management plan for Southern New England.  U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and the Connecticut Congressional Delegation want the local lobster industry to survive long-term.  But, lobstermen said new regulations could put them out of business at a time they see lobster catches growing. “Our records indicate it went up for the last three years not a lot, but a little bit,” Ted Whipple, who is a lobster buyer, said. Whipple said despite what government regulators claim, lobster fishing is improving. click here to read the story 08:49

Connecticut Congressional Members Urge Lobster Regulators To Consider Impact of New Rules on Lobstermen

Connecticut’s remaining lobstermen should be heard before regional fishing regulators  decide on a new plan to try and restore Long Island Sound’s lobster population, members of Connecticut congressional delegation urged Wednesday. Five members of the delegation signed a letter to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission asking that they get more feedback from Connecticut lobster operations before approving a final lobster management plan. Long Island Sound’s lobster population crashed in 1988-89. Marine scientists believe that climate change,,, Some Connecticut lobstermen argued that the dramatic population decline coincided with the widespread use of a particular pesticide used by Connecticut and New York to combat mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus. click to read the story here 17:43

Trying to make a living

As soon as Old Man Winter indicates he’s loosening his grip on the Maine coast and spring is finally in the air, lobstermen will begin to rig their traps in preparation for the upcoming fishing season. One of their prime concerns this year, as in any year, will be questions about bait supplies and costs. Like other businessmen, how much money lobstermen take home at the end of the day, and what their annual profits will be, depends upon their costs and the price per pound their lobsters bring at the dock. In addition to any boat payments they may have, and for some fishermen with newer boats, these are high, they’ll be eyeing current fuel and bait costs.,, continue reading the op-ed here 10:32

Lobstermen in winter far from idle

Throughout the summer and fall, your best bet for finding a lobsterman to talk with is to stake out the dock before sunrise. In the winter, you’ll find area lobstermen in their garages or shops where they spend the season tinkering with their boats, repairing lobster traps and assembling new ones. Not only do lobstermen always have to work for their supper, they also have to be accountants, mechanics, electricians and painters when it comes to maintaining their fishing vessels. Lobsterman Jon Carter, who fishes out of Bar Harbor, is spending his off-season repainting the pilothouse roof, redoing the bulkhead and installing a new 400-horsepower John Deere engine into his fishing boat. continue reading the story here 15:31

Proposed regulations irk lobstermen

Bay State lobstermen fear that a new proposal — meant to save lobsters in warming southern New England waters — could hurt business by barring them from harvesting in prime summer months and putting tighter restrictions on the size of their catch. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will present a plan in New Bedford tonight on ways to maintain or increase the number of lobsters in waters from southern Massachusetts to Delaware. “Over the last 15 years we’ve seen a decline in lobster abundance, and we think that’s by and large a response to warming ocean temperatures,” said Dan McKiernan, deputy director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “That’s the challenge that we have — it’s trying to preserve lobster but doing it in a way that the industry can survive,” he added. Yet Massachusetts lobstermen argue that their pots are full and don’t see what the fuss is all about. video, read the story here 15:58

Potential coral protection rules could have big impact on Downeast lobstermen

The New England Fishery Management Council has put rules to protect deep sea corals on the fast track, rules that will have a major impact on lobstermen — primarily from zones A and B with some from Zone C — who set their gear around Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridge. The council is considering management measures to reduce impacts to corals from commercial fishing activities in three areas in the Gulf of Maine. One of the proposals would impose a total ban on fishing in the protected areas which, according to an analysis the Department of Marine Resources submitted to the council several months ago, are located in waters that produce about one-third of Maine’s lobster landings in terms of value. Now DMR is asking lobstermen who fish in the potentially closed areas for information that will help the department in its efforts to prevent the fishing bans. continue reading the article here 08:38

Southern New England Lobstermen question need for restrictions to help species

Some lobster fishermen expressed skepticism Tuesday about a plan to try to revive the dwindling southern New England lobster stock through . Lobster fishing in the U.S. is experiencing a boom that has lasted several years, and prices have also been high. But the population of the species has diminished in the waters off southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Long Island, New York, where it was once plentiful. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering a host of options to try to rejuvenate the region’s lobster stock, which scientists have said is falling victim to rising ocean temperatures. An arm of the commission voted Tuesday to send the options out for public comment. Read the story here 08:31

Will lobstermen/fishermen wear PFDs?

27910-2tThink of the Maine lobsterman, and a few iconic images come to mind: a rugged boat with a wire trap on the rail; gloved hands holding a thrashing lobster and a gauge to measure whether it’s of legal size; a salty-looking fisherman wearing a T-shirt, oil pants and rubber boots, but no PFD (personal flotation device) or life jacket. According to an NEC report, fishermen generally described themselves as being proactive about safety whenever possible. Virtually all boats carry and maintain the safety gear required by the U.S. Coast Guard. A few years ago, many lobstermen began rigging rope ladders off the sterns of their boats to help them climb back on if they went overboard, and some run a line under the rail to a “kill switch” they can tug to shut off the engine if they are being pulled overboard. Lobstermen cited several reasons for their reluctance to wear PFD’s,, Read the rest here 11:04

Lobstermen in Maine’s historically open Zone C vote to close their waters to newcomers

1030646_442532-20150905_lobster_4The lobstermen of Stonington and Vinalhaven, the busiest lobster ports in Maine, have voted to close their waters to additional fishermen, preferring that newcomers wait for others to leave before dropping traps there. Almost three of every four local lobstermen who voted in a referendum this summer supported the adoption of a waiting list system. The majority included many of the small island communities that had previously opposed making newcomers wait for lobster licenses out of fear that it would discourage people from moving to their far-flung communities. Of the nine districts within the regional lobster zone, only one, the district that includes Matinicus and Criehaven, voted against making newcomers go on a waiting list. Results show that local lobstermen of all ages, license types and business size support the closure. Read the story here 09:34

Harpswell Lobstermen Sound Off on Industry, Legacy

Lands End 012Lobstering brings nearly a half a billion dollars to the shores of Maine, according to the Department of Marine Resources. Harpswell is especially recognized for lobstering, and one local lobsterman estimates that there could be as many as 500 lobstermen and women residing in the town. “I learn something every day and to tell you that I know what the next move with the lobsters would be, I’d be lying,” said Jim Merryman, who has been a lobsterman since he was eight years old. “I’m constantly learning and trying to figure things out, if anybody ever tells you that I’ve got this figured out he’d be lying too.” Read the story here 12:16

New England’s Lobstermen face growing bait shortage

herring-1aThe state of Maine has implemented further restrictions on the amount of herring caught off its coast as New England faces a growing shortage of the fish, the top bait of lobstermen. Regulators and members of the fishing industry say the problem is that not enough herring are being caught on Georges Bank off Massachusetts. The Maine Department of Marine Resources instituted a weekly landing limit of 600,000 pounds of herring per boat to assure landings don’t cause a shortage in August. Both New Hampshire and Maine have always had regulations involving herring caught in the Atlantic Area 1A, but regulators say they fear a shortage could cause the herring fishery to close at the start of September. A typical harvest for an Area 1A Trimester goes from June 1 through Sept. 30. According to New Hampshire Fish & Game, almost 99 percent of Maine Area 1A herring is fished by Maine licensed vessels. The lack of bait is a problem for lobstering in all coastal New England states, but is hitting Maine hardest as it is the largest lobster fishing state in the country. Read the rest here 09:15

Maine: Two weeks remain for ‘fishing for the halibut’

maine halibut seasonSOUTHWEST HARBOR — With a May 1 to June 30 season, Atlantic halibut can be a boon to lobstermen before the summer lobster season gets busy. Some are multitasking, checking their halibut trawls in between trips to get their lobster traps in the water. Home and restaurant cooks like the fish for its firm texture; the flesh doesn’t fall apart the way it does with haddock or other common groundfish. Halibut trawls have hooks on them, which must be circle hooks of a certain size. “We set out a trawl with about 80 hooks on it,” said Holly Masterson, sternman on Mike Carroll’s F/V Molly Hock, of a late May day when they caught a 49-pound, 50-inch halibut. Read the story here 14:04

Scientists, lobstermen disagree on state of fishery

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls norbert stampsMark Sweitzer has a degree in chemistry, but he began fishing for lobster back in the 1970s and is still at it today. Sweitzer fishes out of the Port of Galilee on the F/V Erika Knight. “I like being outside,” he said. “I always thought about going back to school for geology or forestry or something like that, that would enable me to be outside. I love being outside and I love being around the ocean, so that was a big part of it, and I like having my own business.” Rhode Island’s lobster fishery may never see another boom time like the period in the ’80s and ’90s when there were plenty of lobsters and lots of money to be made. There are fewer lobsters and fewer lobster fishermen today, but explanations for the stock fluctuation vary widely. Read the rest here 08:19

A lobsterman’s life

Mary ToddWith respect to The Phoenix’s focus on food this month, I (Chris Shorr) figured it’d be a good time to paint part of the real picture behind the process and effort that goes into catching lobsters in Maine. For most lobstermen, their days start well before the sun comes up. Checking the weather forecast is a must, particularly for the wind speeds and visibility, plus things like sunrise and sunset times, and when the high and low tides will be. During this time of year, the days when Mother Nature will allow lobstermen in Maine to haul their traps are few and far between. That’s because in the winter months the only place to catch lobsters is many miles offshore, and in the harsher weather most boats can’t handle such a trip in winds any faster than about 15 miles an hour. Read the rest here 10:05

Maine Lobstermen pack Augusta hearing on controversial proposed licensing changes

Seth Morrissette works as a sternman on a lobster boat out of Friendship. He came to the podium at the Legislature’s Marine Resources committee, Wednesday, carrying his 3-year-old son, Levi, on his shoulders. His voice cracking, he told the lawmakers that his son would get his lobster license before he did. Morrissette was among a group who testified in support of a series of changes that would, in the words of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher, “strike a difficult balance” between 5,800 current license holders and the nearly 300 on a long and unpredictable waiting list. Read the article here 21:21

Lobstermen, DMR talk state of lobster fishing

lobsterDM0811_468x521“We realize a fairly large amount of people want to transfer from other zones, and we are looking into that,” Keliher replied. Lobsterman Steve Taylor, of Kittery, said “I’m sorry if this is going to offend people, but what about the people who are on the waiting list that already have a cushy job somewhere and just want to make extra money lobstering? That worries us. We depend on this for out living. Everything else in the industry has been taken away.” Read the rest here 17:46

Can cusk survive the ‘fish bends’? So far, we have determined that they can!

cusk survive the fish bendsI have been working with commercial fishermen in the Maine lobster fishery to test if cusk can survive ‘the fish bend’s’So far, we have determined that cusk can survive if they are returned to the depth where they are captured. we have determined to test if cusk can survive ‘the fish bend’s’ despite all of the trauma they experience when brought to the surface. These lobstermen have been conducting experiments during normal fishing operations to collect data on the ability of cusk to survive. If a fisherman catches a cusk,,,  Read the rest here 16:23

Lobstermen play waiting game while early prices spike, And wait they must!

lobsterDM0811_468x521Maine’s lobster industry is gearing up for another big year as the state’s 4,500 commercial fishermen wait for lobsters to migrate to the coast and shed the hard shells they’ve been carrying all winter.  “The old saying is: ‘The weather gets better before the lobster catch does,’” he said. “It takes awhile for the water temperatures to warm up and for the lobsters to do their thing.” It all comes down to weather – not this weekend’s mostly sunny summer skies but the bitter cold of last winter that chilled the Gulf of Maine. Then a wave of storms in February mixed up the water column and drove those low temperatures at the surface down to lobster habitat at the bottom. Read the rest here

Lobster prices up in New England as season off to slow start

Prices are high because — the season picks up after the bulk of lobsters shed shells and reach legal harvesting size, and lobstermen said that hasn’t happened yet. This year’s summer lobster fishing season appears likely to feature a mid-July shed followed by a boom in catch, said Tim Harkins, president of the Maine Lobster Dealers Association. “Everyone I’ve spoken to expects to see new shell lobsters after (July) 4th,” he said. Read the rest here 11:01

Letter: Lobstering, the last shoe to drop, Ron Gilson, Gloucester

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-scaled500-e1371562470325The current brouhaha over NOAA’s proposal to install monitors on lobster boats (”Observer plan riles lobstermen,” June 6) is a bogus, blatant attempt to put the little guy out of business. While the EPA is hell bent on putting thousands of coal miners out of work, NOAA is methodically destroying all that remains of the fishing industry, the successful small boat lobsterman. Protection and indemnity insurance for these “observers,” mandated by NOAA, will put lobstermen out of business. This is the elephant in the room that will kill the industry.  Read the rest here 08:43

“We’re next” – NOAA observers worry lobstermen – informational meeting tonight at 6 at NOAA’s Gloucester facility

The growing consternation among lobstermen over expanding observer coverage, at least in part, is based on what they’ve seen happen within the groundfish industry. This summer has done nothing to diminish that concern, as more and more local and state lobstermen are reporting increased dockside and other approaches by NOAA observers looking to ride along with them. Those escalating concerns have prompted NOAA , through its law enforcement office, to schedule an informational meeting tonight at 6 at NOAA’s Gloucester facility in the Blackburn Industrial Park. Read the rest here 07:48

Fishermen say new restrictions unfairly overlook cod caught in lobster traps

Emergency restrictions aimed at protecting plummeting cod stocks, set to go into effect Thursday in the Gulf of Maine, have some fishermen complaining that one group that routinely kills cod won’t be affected by the new rules – the region’s lobstermen. Read the rest here 07:38

No consideration given to lobstermen by Army Corps of Engineers Royal River dredging project

The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the project, which is set to begin on October 14th, and last until April. Sediment will be removed from the mouth of the Royal River and will be hauled along a 15 mile stretch to a disposal site in Portland. All fishing gear along the hauling route has to be removed by next week, and some fishermen said they did not hear about the plans until Monday morning. Video, Read the rest here 12:55

Lobstermen in Maine are not happy about this’: Feds finalize whale-safe rules for lobster buoy lines

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Federal fisheries officials have issued the final version of a new rule aimed at protecting whales from getting entangled in fishing lines that connect surface buoys to traps on the ocean bottom. Read more here 06:06

3 lobstermen charged in connection with boat house fire

The State Fire Marshal’s Office arrested three men in connection with a fire two years ago that destroyed a boat house and a lobster boat inside . The fire involved a large Quonset hut boathouse; owned by Donald Simmons, a lobster fisherman. Read more here 05:20

Price pressures and national pride rankles lobstermen

canadian-american-flag“Something is seriously wrong, somebody’s getting a whole ton of money,” said  Charles McGeoghegan, a  Prince  Edward Island lobsterman, referring to the wholesale price going down while  the retail price at the grocery store has held near $15 per pound. “We know that the fishermen aren’t getting it,” McGeoghegan said. [email protected] 15:29