Tag Archives: lobstermen

Reality TV and Real Work in the Fishing Industry

Fishing may be the world’s second oldest profession, but the industry is about as visible as a quiet cousin at a family reunion. Unassuming, keeping to itself, it is largely ignored in talk about work and the economy.  All of which belies its oddly large footprint in reality TV. Some of these “fishing industry” shows look at huge, highly capitalized and often nationalized factory fishing fleets.  But most usually focus on much smaller, community and family-based single-owner boat crews that are part of a local fleet. >click to read< 08:09

Eric Trump tells Maine lobstermen: ‘We will never, ever let you down’

When Seth Dube was growing up in Camp Ellis, Saco’s gritty seaside community boasted a robust ground fishing fleet, but the draggers are mostly gone now, replaced by lobster boats like his. The sixth-generation fisherman blames government overregulation for that industry’s demise, and used to worry lobstering could be next. That was before President Trump became a friend of the Maine fisherman, Dube said – reopening marine monuments to fishing, delaying environmental rules that would have forced some lobstermen to install greener diesel engines, inking a trade deal allowing tariff-free lobster trade with Europe and giving lobstermen trade relief for lost China sales. >click to read< 11:19

Lincolnville lobstermen rescue distressed sailor

Quick action by Lincolnville lobsterman Nick Heal and his crew, Alex Bryant and Jared Gilbert, brought a lone sailor attempting to right his capsized catamaran back to safe harbor Sunday afternoon, Sept. 13. Back at the Lincolnville dock, Martha Flint, of Rockport, was fishing with family and friends on the float. They saw the boat capsize and watched as Browne tried to right the boat, to no avail.  Flint noticed Heal on the dock, getting ready to load lobster bait onto the Kristin Marie. She ran up the ramp to get his attention. lots of photos, Great job! >click to read< 07:34

A Greek tragedy? New England lobsters caught in perfect storm of warming seas and save the whales activism

Climate change, ocean acidification,,, it’s nothing compared to what will become of the industry if the self-coronated “Prince of Whales,” New Hampshire’s Richard “Max” Strahan, has his way. To lobstermen, though, Strahan has proven himself far more than a vaudevillian nuisance. The kicker, says Strahan, who gets more animated as our conversation goes on, is that the whales are pretty much doomed no matter what. In 2017, the North Atlantic right whale population didn’t reproduce at all, usually considered the death knell for an endangered species. In late June, a six-month-old right whale calf was found dead with propeller wounds off the coast of New Jersey. Lobstering had nothing to do with it, but it won’t help the industry’s case. “It’s not really that they’re being caught in fishing gear,” Strahan admits. “It’s the fact that they don’t reproduce anymore. That’s what’s killing them.” >click to read< 08:07

Second coronavirus wave would be ‘catastrophic,’ Massachusetts fishermen say

Commercial fishermen and lobstermen in Massachusetts already “crippled” by the coronavirus pandemic say they fear a second wave in the fall would sink the industry. “If there’s a shutdown then, it could be catastrophic,” said Joey Ciaramitaro, co-owner of Gloucester-based Captain Joe & Sons wholesale lobsters. People think of summer as the lobster season, but really, the fall is when the most lobsters get landed. That’s what we’re most concerned about: shutdowns in the fall,” Ciaramitaro said.  Video,  >click to read< 19:35

Maine: 1 in 3 Lobstermen got small Paycheck Protection Program loans

About $14.9 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans of less than $150,000 have been handed out to 1,358 Maine lobstermen, according to an analysis of newly released U.S. Small Business Administration data. That puts lobstermen ahead of full-service restaurants, real estate offices, beauty salons and home builders, which rounded out the top five Maine industries receiving small PPP loans. Maine’s $1.4 billion-a-year lobster industry – including those who buy, sell and process lobster as well as catch it – have received 1,495 forgivable PPP loans worth at least $24.2 million, so far. Fishermen got the lion’s share of the industry’s total PPP money, but only because they outnumber dealers, retailers and processors. Some dealers got loans of up to $1 million. >click to read< 07:15

In Lobster Town U.S.A., When the industry suffers, the pain ripples.

Blaine Olsen, a lifelong lobsterman, was navigating his 30-foot boat off the coast of Stonington, Maine, when his sternman, who’s also his wife, yelled above the diesel engine’s din about the pittance the local cooperative was paying harvesters. He shot Ginny a doleful stare for a good five seconds. “Holy sh-t, man,” he said. “It costs us $600 a day to go out.” The dock price, $2.25 a pound for soft-shell lobsters, was half what it was a year ago, making it virtually impossible to earn a profit. The novel coronavirus has barely touched the public health of this corner of rural down east Maine, with Hancock County reporting just 16 cases and one death as of June 30. Its economic health is another matter,,, >click to read< 10:50

It’s time to open the economy back up! Maine Lobstermen Seek Ways To Prevent Financial Crash

Anti-glut tactics might include limiting days at sea, narrowing size limits or barring the catch of single-clawed lobsters to reduce the overall haul. In an online meeting Monday, Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher told Downeast lobstermen that he’s found no consensus on the best course of action. Lobsterman Jim Hanscom, of Bar Harbor, says he is wary of intervention by Gov. Janet Mills. “This governor scares me on a lot of levels, and the idea of her having the ability on shutting this fishery down or stopping dealers from buying, I think it’s just dangerous.” Keliher is scheduled to brief Mills on the issue Tuesday,,, >click to read< 10:40

Point Judith fishermen optimistic as Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument restrictions ease

Removal of restrictions for an underwater national park sealed off from commercial fishing trawlers and lobstermen will now provide a bonanza of opportunities for fishing boats in Point Judith, said Fred Mattera, advocate for commercial fishing. According to Mattera, executive director of the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island, this once lucrative fishing spot will now again enable them to bring back large hauls to be sold to for restaurants, grocery stores and ingredients for other foods. Last Friday President Trump removed those restrictions and opened the area once more to fishing, but the decision has produced an outcry from various environmental groups warning of the potential destruction to unique marine life. >click to read< 14:49

State of Maine: Lobstermen are feeling the pinch

Maine lobstermen are in a world of hurt, caught in a two-pronged assault on their livelihood. The pincer claw is the pandemic, causing their market to collapse. The crusher claw? That would be the latest lawsuit over whale rules.,, Even the elders in the fishing community are rattled. They are usually the ones who face fluctuations in the market with zen-like calm. It’s been down before, they say, and it will come back. Every year is not going to be a record-breaker. This time they’re worried. Younger fishermen who have gotten accustomed to record catches every year have taken on significant debt (bigger boats, newer trucks) and are freaking out. Jill Goldthwait >click to read< 11:09

‘I’m not a quitter’: lobstermen turn to kelp farming in the face of climate crisis

Back from a day of scalloping, lobsterman Bob Baines has docked his boat, the FV Thrasher, at the Spruce Head Fishermans Co-op. His sternman, David McLellan, clad in waterproof overalls like Baines, shucks the last few hauls, tossing the meats into a bucket and the shells overboard. It’s the last week of scallop season, but there is a new venture on the horizon. Baines, 64, steers the Thrasher back out toward Hewett Island on Penobscot Bay to check on the underwater kelp farm that he “planted” in December. It’s a willowy structure made up of moorings, buoys and ropes that hovers 7ft underwater and spans 1,000ft wide, like a monster cat’s cradle. Baines is among the latest of 19 veteran lobstermen along the Maine coast who are applying their hard-earned expertise to kelp farming. >click to read< 12:46

Activist Seeks Preliminary Injunction To Halt Lobster Fishing In Maine

There are new developments Friday in the legal battle over whether rope used by Maine lobstermen poses a deadly threat of entanglement to endangered North Atlantic right whales. Richard Strahan’s case is similar to one he brought in Massachusetts, where a federal judge ruled recently that the lobster fishery there violates the Endangered Species Act. Strahan says state governments and NOAA have deliberately ignored the law. In another case, a coalition of conservation groups late Friday filed their proposals for protecting the right whales. That’s after a judge’s finding that the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to stall the whales’ slide toward extinction. The Conservation Law Foundation and others say the judge should immediately bar use of vertical rope,,, >click to read< 11:42

Massachusetts Lobstermen push against whale rules – Aug 22, 2019 >click to read<

Coronavirus: NH lobstermen trying to keep afloat relying more on direct sales to the public

Andy Konchek has his own lobster boat and works as a deckhand for Capt. John Borden on the Mary Baker. They fish in federal waters and typically sell their catch to Kittery Trading Post in Maine, which was deemed “non-essential” and closed last week. Konchek said they have hauled in 300 of their traps because of the loss in sales. They are still going out for a limited catch and selling lobsters and Jonah crabs directly to customers from Pierce Island in Portsmouth to keep afloat financially. Brian Tarbell of Dover was one of Konchek and Borden’s customers last week. He said local fishermen need support now more than ever. >click to read< 08:56

Doing Well! Lobstermen survive with off-the-boat sales

Seacoast lobstermen have seen complete sellouts of their weekly catch since dining establishments and other businesses began to shut down as a result of the health emergency – but only because they’re finding alternative solutions to sell, mostly via retail sales to the public right off the boat. Most lobstermen were notified by their wholesale dealers last week that since restaurants in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have been mandated to go takeout-only – resulting in many opting to close their doors completely – the buyers won’t be buying. There’s no one to sell to. >click to read< 19:57

Maine lobstermen tell federal regulators: We’re not killing the whales

The Maine Lobstering Union accuses the agency of caving to environmental organizations when it should be defending the industry. Kristan Porter, a Cutler lobsterman who heads up the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, said the modeling tool the agency had come up with to determine risk had been sharply criticized by a team of independent scientists during a peer review conducted late last year. Stonington lobsterman Julie Eaton urged regulators to stop playing dangerous games with fishermen’s lives and livelihoods. We don’t want to see any animal go extinct, but blaming us for the right whale’s decline is like blaming Mexico for the plight of the polar bear, she said.  >click to read< 09:47

New Hampshire: Lobstermen lament coming whale entanglement regulations

Seacoast lobstermen weighed in on the proposal at a meeting Thursday night in Portsmouth with the state Department of Fish and Game. They’re still skeptical that their fishery poses enough of a threat to the whales to merit new regulations. And they want more details and input on the new, more easily breakable lines or gear they’ll have to use to keep whales from being entangled. >click to read< 07:10

US lobster industry hopes new deal renews trade with China

One group that is cautiously optimistic about the trade deal signed Wednesday between the U.S. and China is the lobster industry. The hope is that the deal will reopen one of the biggest markets in the world for lobsters. China is one of the biggest export destinations for lobster, which are trapped in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean by American and Canadian fishermen. >click to read< 06:59

Maine lobster industry will benefit from the China trade deal, Sen. Collins says>click to read<

Lobstermen throw cold water on Maine state plan to protect whales

Fishermen in the heart of Maine’s $485 million lobster industry don’t like a state proposal to protect endangered right whales from buoy lines, arguing that it forces them to give up too much to fix a problem they aren’t causing.About 75 people packed a local lobster board meeting in Deer Isle on Thursday night to vent about the plan, which they argue is overly complicated, puts them in danger and is unlikely to help the species it is trying to save. >click to read< 09:40

Maine Seeks to Aid Lobstermen as Federal Whale Protections Loom

On Friday, the state’s Department of Marine Resources released a plan it says protects the endangered whales and lobstermen, whom the feds say need to do more to prevent traps and lines from killing the whale. Maine’s suggestions include having lobstermen use ropes with weak points the whales could easily break and calls for a 25% reduction in the amount of vertical trap lines. >click to read< 08:29

Maine Plan Aims To Reduce Lobstering Impact On Right Whales – The Maine Department of Marine Resources tweaked its October proposal to balance the needs of lobstermen while protecting the whales,,, >click to read< 09:32

“This is our line in the sand,”: Facing new threats, lobstermen take hard line against right whale protections

“My administration will not allow any bureaucrat to undermine our lobster industry or our economy with foolish, unsupported, and ill-advised regulations,” Governor Janet Mills told a crowd of cheering lobstermen at a protest this summer at a protest this summer in Stonington. The backlash started shortly after a government-appointed team of scientists, fishermen, and others urged the agency to require lobstermen to reduce their buoy lines, among other measures.,, But with increasingly vocal protests across Maine’s rugged coast from rank-and-file lobstermen, the state’s leaders — including their entire congressional delegation,,,  >click to read< 12:17

Cruise Ships: When is Maine and Mass going to ban exhaust scrubbers?

An undue burden is being imposed on the lobster industry by foreign flagged ships that are dumping poisons on our lobsters. This should be a violation of the Jones Act which is in need of a revision to address the exploding cruise industry. It should be viewed as an undue burden inflicted on a Port of Call by a foreign vessel. Cruise Ships were not envisioned when this act was written. Cruise ships anchor all day right next to towns with their engines burning lots of fuel, and discharging sewage and graywater up and down the coast, and even while using scrubbers a cruise ship is still legally allowed to emit a deadly cloud,,, By Jim O’Connell  >click to read< 07:58

Lobstermen’s Association rejects DMR whale proposal

Efforts to find consensus over how to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in fishing gear without decimating the Maine lobster industry took a blow last week. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) announced that it would not support a plan developed by the Department of Marine Resources “because it seeks reductions that exceed the documented risk posed by the Maine lobster fishery” and “creates unresolved safety and operational challenges for some sectors of the lobster industry,”,,, >click to read< 10:43

Lobstermen Question State Whale Plan at Waldoboro Meeting

Lobstermen expressed a mix of frustration and acceptance upon hearing the state’s new plan to protect North American right whales during a meeting in Waldoboro on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher presented the state’s proposed gear rules and fielded questions in the Medomak Middle School gymnasium. Photo’s >click to read< 09:55

China tariffs sinking overseas sales, Provincetown lobstermen not feeling the pinch

“It’s killed our price. It’s killed our markets,” said state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester.,,, Multiple Massachusetts businesses, especially those in Gloucester, have been adversely affected as they cannot compete with Canadian wholesale prices. But the lobstermen themselves are not feeling the pinch, and if anything are seeing their prices rise, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association Executive Director Beth Casoni said. “The fishermen are happy,” Casoni said. “They’re making money.” >click to read< 09:29

Legislators, lobstermen press case against ‘draconian’ whale rules

Two area legislators led a delegation Wednesday to the Maine Attorney General’s Office to press their case for a full representation for the state’s lobster industry against what they say are draconian and unjustified measures being proposed by the federal government to protect right whales. Independent Reps. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship and Bill Pluecker of Warren met Sept. 18 with Attorney General Aaron Frey and two staff attorneys who represent the Department of Marine Resources. >click to read<  11:25

Lobstermen at NOAA meeting oppose new fishing regulations

The Ellsworth High School auditorium was packed during one of a series of meetings held near fishing communities in Maine. The crowd was made up of conservationists, scientists and politicians, but mostly fishermen. U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and State Rep. Genevieve McDonald, D-Deer Isle, attended the event, while Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd Dist., sent staff representatives.,, NOAA research indicates that large vessel strikes are the predominant cause of whale deaths.“If you would just give us a chance to prove our innocence,” one person said.   >click to read<  20:11

Gloucester: Lobstermen push against whale rules – ‘We’ve borne the brunt’

The evening began with a presentation from NOAA Fisheries’ Mike Asaro and Colleen Coogan that offered a historical backdrop on the status of the North Atlantic right whale stock and an explanation of the specific protectionist measures adopted in April by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team.,, In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, lobstermen are tasked with reducing their vertical lines by 30 percent. In Maine, where there has been significant pushback by state officials and the nation’s most formidable lobster fleet, the target is significantly higher — 50 percent. Then came the comment period and the usual choosing of the sides. Photo’s,  >click to read< 22:04

Lobstermen, environmentalists weigh in on right whale rules

Some of the largest and most powerful animal and environmental groups – including the Pew Charitable Trust, the U.S. Humane Society, the Conservation Law Foundation and Oceana – sent representatives to the hearing. They urged National Marine Fisheries Service to take immediate action to protect the whale, including proposals that even the team tasked by the fisheries service to come up with its whale protection plan had dismissed, such as offshore closures and ropeless lobster fishing. >click to read< 20:58

Lobstermen threatened with the extinction of their way of life

The word “extinction” has been thrown around a lot lately by environmental groups,,, Large, well-funded, out-of-state environmental groups would have you believe that these whales are going extinct and that Maine fishing gear entanglement is a major reason why. These groups have proposed things like ropeless fishing and refuse to believe that ideas like this are not practical in Maine. Can you imagine how a fisherman could set his 20- to 30-trap trawl into water 300 to 400 feet deep, not knowing where any of his competitors’ trawls might have been set days before? >click to read< 11:37

Maine political leaders join lobster haulers to rally against new rules

Gov. Janet Mills and almost all of Maine’s congressional delegation will participate in a rally Sunday protesting new federal regulations aimed at protecting the endangered North Atlantic right whale, but also could cause large-scale disruption in this state’s lobster industry. Maine lobstermen support protecting the whales, whose numbers have dwindled to fewer than 420 during the past decade, but say that the new regulations,,, >click to read< 12:56