Tag Archives: Maine Lobstermen’s Association

The cost of herring – Fishermen feeling bait price squeeze

“We made no money this spring,” said Bass Harbor fisherman Justin Sprague. The cost of operations for lobstering continues to increase while the boat price of lobster has hardly budged. The cost of herring, the preferred bait for most Maine lobsterman, has gone up especially sharply. “We don’t have any margin at this point,” Sprague said. “It’s frustrating, to say the least.” Bruce Colbeth manages the C.H. Rich lobster wharf in Bass Harbor. “By the time these guys pay for fuel, bait and stern men, there ain’t too much left for them,” he said. “I remember six years ago you could sell (herring) bait for $26 a bushel. Now it’s doubled.” >click to read<11:41

Dow honored, DMR Excellence Award named for Andy Mays

Two men known well to the Mount Desert Island commercial fishing community were honored at the annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum last weekend at the Samoset Resort here. Specialist Sean Dow of the Maine Marine Patrol accepted the Officer of the Year award Saturday. The DMR Excellence Award, now named for its first recipient, the late Andy Mays of Southwest Harbor, went to Machiasport fisherman Mike Murphy. >click to read< 12:15

Change of leadership at Maine Lobstermen’s Association

At the 64th annual meeting of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association on March 2, long-time president David Cousens stepped down from his position as MLA president and Kristan Porter, of Cutler, was elected by the MLA board of directors to the post. Porter, 47, was one of the MLA’s two vice-presidents. “I am honored to have worked with so many dedicated people over the years. We’ve had some rough times but I think the industry is in a better place than it was 27 years ago,” said David Cousens, in a news release. “Kristan is smart and a clear thinker so I know the organization is in good hands.” >click to read< 13:27

Maine lobster catch dips to lowest level in 6 years in ’17

The state that dominates the U.S. lobster haul saw the catch fall to its lowest level since 2011 last year, yet the industry is still strong and the crustaceans remain easily available to consumers, regulators said Friday. Maine fishermen caught a little more than 110.8 million pounds (50.3 million kilograms) of lobster last year, following a stretch of five consecutive years in which the state topped 120 million pounds (54 million kilograms) annually, the state Department of Marine Resources announced. Fishermen in Maine, who typically catch about 80 percent of America’s lobster, also made slightly less money. >click to read< 09:57

Maine Lobstermen’s Association to replace longtime leader

The largest commercial fishing industry group on the East Coast will elect a new leader this Friday for the first time in 27 yearsa Cutler fisherman, is expected to take the reins of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association at the end of its annual meeting in Rockport. Porter, however, said it is “not a done deal” that he’ll become the group’s next president.,, The MLA was founded in 1954 and, with 1,200 members, bills itself as “the oldest and largest fishing industry association on the East Coast.” It holds its annual meeting each year at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum,,, >click to read< 07:24

43rd Maine Fishermen’s Forum opens on Thursday

The weathermen may be predicting snow for the weekend but Maine fishermen, or at least the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, say that spring is nearly upon us. The 43rd annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum gets under way on Thursday at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. The event features three days of seminars and workshops that bring fishermen from the along the entire New England coast together with: state and federal fisheries scientists, regulators and managers; political incumbents and hopefuls; and maritime enterprises hawking everything from new lobster boats and giant diesel engines to lobster traps, marine electronics, refrigeration systems and foul weather gear. >click to read< 20:40

Maine lobstermen’s conservation efforts an investment in the future

How many of you keep money in the bank? Savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit or investments — we all use different methods to ensure that we have something set aside for the future. Maine lobstermen have been doing just that for the past century, making sure that there will be lobsters in the Gulf of Maine for their children and grandchildren to harvest. In doing so, they have earned a worldwide reputation as leaders in stewardship of marine resources. >click to read< 10:19 

Dave Cousens, longtime chief of lobstermen’s association, to step down

David Cousens, a South Thomaston lobsterman who has led the Maine Lobstermen’s Association for 27 years, is stepping down as president of the organization. Cousens, 60, said the organization needs new leadership when it faces new challenges, including lawsuits aimed at protecting whales that become entangled in fishing lines. He said resolving that issue will require a lot of time and effort and it will be better handled by handing over the reins to someone else. Besides, Cousens said Tuesday, “it’s time to step back and enjoy life a little bit.” >click to read< 14:45

ASMFC to require Maine to collect catch reports from all lobstermen

An interstate fisheries commission voted Tuesday to require all licensed lobstermen in Maine to start filing catch reports within the next five years. Lobstermen in Maine, where currently only 10 percent of licensed lobstermen are required to file catch reports, overwhelmingly have been opposed to such a requirement. Other states, all of which have lobster fisheries smaller than Maine’s, already require 100 percent of active lobster harvesters to file daily catch summaries. Maine’s Department of Marine Resources also has opposed requiring all lobstermen to file reports. >click to read< 16:08

Lobstermen speak out against proposal to have Maine’s entire fleet report data

Maine doesn’t require all of its lobstermen to share their fishing data, and they say reporting even 10 percent of the country’s largest lobster fishery is enough to give state and federal regulators statistically valid data. That’s the argument advanced by lobstermen, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and the state Department of Marine Resources against a proposal for 100 percent reporting, at a hearing held Wednesday by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. >click here to read< 11:09

Lobstermen alarmed at prospect of sharing their secrets with regulators

For generations, Maine lobstermen have fiercely guarded their fishing secrets, telling almost no one how and where they fish or how much they haul up in their traps. But under a new proposal, these independent operators would have to share all the nitty-gritty details with regulators, like where they fish, how long they let their traps soak, the kind of gear they use and how deep they set it, and how much lobster they land. click here to read the story 08:35

Maine lobster council to keep funding marketing effort despite critics

Despite grumbling from lobster dealers, the state Lobster Advisory Council voted unanimously Thursday to continue funding the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. The collaborative is about to begin the final year of its five-year mission to promote the state’s signature product. It wants the Legislature to renew its authorization, and its $2.2 million a year budget funded by surcharges on state-issued lobster licenses. But it needs the support of the people that its work is serving – the individual lobster zone councils and the Lobster Advisory Council that oversees it all. click here to read the story 13:29

Maine coastal town’s leaders vote to oppose offshore wind project

The St. George Select Board voted Monday to oppose an offshore wind project taking shape about 12 miles away, standing with local fishermen who say the project and its transmission cable would harm their livelihoods. The unanimous vote follows a recommendation made by an advisory committee created last month by the five-person Select Board to weigh the impact the Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind project would have on the local community. “I think it’s a good idea we sever ourselves from [Maine Aqua Ventus] and that we support the fishermen in any way we can,” Select Board member Randy Elwell said Monday. click here to read the story 21:39

Maine’s lobster marketing group is facing existential opposition from an unlikely source: the lobster industry.

With lobster prices down, both at the dock and the dealer’s office, some who make their living off the state’s signature crustacean are reluctant to approve another five years of funding to the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, whose $2.2 million-a-year budget is funded by lobster license surcharges. With its state funding about to expire, the collaborative is taking its case to fishermen in fire halls and ferry terminals from Kennebunk to Rockland this month, calling on powerful industry friends to lend their support and touting a new audit that gave the program stellar reviews. But it’s not an easy sell. click here to read the story 08:57

Maine lobster catch on track to hit lowest value this decade

Maine’s 2017 lobster harvest is on pace to hit its lowest value this decade, due to an unfavorable combination of a dwindling catch and falling prices, according to lobster industry officials. The statewide haul for this year could plummet below 100 million pounds for the first time since 2010 — a decrease of more than 30 million pounds from 2016, said David Cousens, president of Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “This year we’re having is one of the worst we’ve had” in recent memory, Cousens said.  click here to read the story 08:19

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

Controversial bill allowing secret tracking devices on lobster boats wins Maine Senate approval

A compromise has been reached over a controversial bill that would allow the Department of Marine Resources to secretly place tracking devices on lobster boats. The measure is aimed at cracking down on violators of lobstering laws. The Maine Lobstermen’s Union had been strongly opposed to the bill, saying it gave the commissioner too much authority by allowing him to covertly track boats. But after a discussion with the commissioner this morning the union now backs the bill. “So we have a lot more people fishing offshore, much more difficult to catch violators offshore,” said Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. McCarron said if allowing investigators to covertly place tracking devices on boats of suspected cheaters leads to more arrests, the industry will be better off. Video, click here to read the story 11:30

Maine Lobstermen Support GPS Tracking of Lawbreakers Fishing Vessels – Lobstermen from Swans Island are fed up with the bad behavior of fellow fishermen who violate regulations within the states most valuable fishery.  Video, click here to read the story 12:02

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

Maine lobstermen worry about possible closure to protect coral

Charles Kelley began fishing for lobster on Outer Schoodic Ridge about 20 years ago, preferring the solitude of deep waters to the crowded inshore fishery.,, Kelley is worried that he could lose his winter fishing territory if interstate regulators decide to ban all fishing in a 31-square-mile area at the ridge and an 18-square-mile area southwest of Mount Desert Rock to protect deep-water coral gardens found in those waters.,,, Some environmental groups have banded together to oppose the lobster exemption, among other aspects of the proposal, including the Conservation Law Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana and The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Heavy offshore trap gear … poses a threat to long-lived and vulnerable deep-sea coral communities,” they wrote in an April 11 letter. “Trap fisheries directly damage corals.” Click here to read the story 07:58

Maine lawmakers endorse tougher penalties for lobstermen who cheat

A legislative committee voted unanimously Wednesday to toughen penalties on lobstermen who fish too many traps or use “sunken trawls” as part of an industry-supported effort to crack down on lawbreakers. “I do think this is going to get people’s attention and will hopefully make people realize that it doesn’t pay to cheat,” said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Lawmakers are considering a suite of requests from the Maine Department of Marine Resources for more enforcement tools and tougher sanctions against violators in an industry worth more than $500 million last year. A bill unanimously endorsed by the Marine Resources Committee, L.D. 575, would allow DMR’s commissioner to order longer license suspensions for lobstermen who violate the laws on the first offense and, in several cases, permanently revoke the licenses of repeat offenders. click here to read the story 19:49

At the Maine Fishermen’s Forum: Lobstermen work with state on new penalties for violations

Enforcement of marine resource laws was the top concern when lobstermen met with state regulators March 3 at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum. Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher and Col. Jon Cornish of the Maine Marine Patrol met with the Maine Lobstermen’s Association in a packed meeting room at the Samoset Resort to talk about the state’s efforts to improve enforcement of marine resource laws. “You guys don’t agree on much,” moderator Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association said, earning a laugh from the gathered fishermen. She said the common ground the fishermen had found was their concern about violations. “Lobstermen deserve to work on a level playing field,” she said, but violations make that field unfair, and there was concern the penalties have not been severe enough to deter illegal activity. Work had begun long before the forum with a survey of lobstermen in the association and throughout the fishing industry to see what their top priorities were in terms of enforcement. The results of that survey led to a bill going before the Maine Legislature to improve the state’s lobster laws. continue reading the story here 10:08

Maine lobstermen oppose increase in cost of commercial fishing licenses

A proposal to increase the cost of commercial fishing licenses to fund scientific research in a lean budget year is drawing fire from Maine lobstermen. Julie Eaton, a 30-year lobster boat captain from Deer Isle, told a legislative panel at the State House on Friday that a 30 percent increase in lobster license fees would be too much on top of all the other costs of doing business, ranging from $125 to replace lost traps to $185 for monthly oil changes to bait bills that have doubled in the last year alone. The Maine Department of Marine Resources is seeking to increase lobster license fees about 30 percent, which would generate roughly $600,000 in new revenues. That money would be used to expand state lobster research and protect other department units, like the Maine Marine Patrol, despite budget cuts ordered by Gov. Paul LePage to offset the anticipated effect of a new minimum wage law and state school spending initiative. Continue reading the article here 09:24

What’s on a real roll? Demand for the Maine lobster

The demand for lobster is on a roll — often literally. And that is helping to keep the price that Maine lobstermen are getting for their catch near historic highs. The annual per-pound price first rose above $4 in 2004 and stayed there through 2007, then fell sharply during the recession. In 2015, annual price paid to Maine lobstermen reached $4.09 a pound, the first time it had topped the $4 mark since 2007. This year, dockside prices for lobster have been close to or above the $4 level throughout the summer and fall, when most lobster is caught and prices usually dip to reflect the ample supply. Isle au Haut lobsterman Payson Barter said that he has been getting prices this fall that are “about the same” as those in 2015. He sells his catch to Little Bay Lobster in Stonington for $4 to $5 per pound. He said the relatively warm water this fall has helped increase the number of lobsters close to shore but that the crustaceans are now making their seasonal migration farther out to sea. Read the rest here 09:29

Mercury findings prompt state to widen lobster fishing ban in Penobscot River estuary

10-lobsters1Lobstermen never want to see an area closed, but they have supported the Penobscot River ban because they want to protect the long-term reputation of the product, said Patrice McCarron, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Maine has expanded its ban on lobstering and crabbing in a small section of Penobscot Bay after finding elevated mercury levels in lobsters tested south of the existing no-fishing zone. The Maine Department of Marine Resources had declared seven square miles of the Penobscot River estuary off limits to lobstermen and crabbers in 2014 after a federal court-ordered study detected elevated mercury levels in lobsters found as far south as Fort Point on the west bank and Wilson Point on the east bank. On Tuesday, based on the results of state-funded tests done after the initial closure, the department announced it would add 5.5 square miles to the no-fishing zone, extending it south to Squaw Point on Cape Jellison and Perkins Point in Castine. Read the rest here 09:18

Its all about the Quality! Maine lobstermen learn quality improvement

lobsterDM0811_468x521Lobstermen gathered at Kennebunk Elementary School Monday morning for a workshop on improving quality and profitability of the lobsters they harvest. The “Lobster Quality Tour” is a series of workshops put on by the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Lobster health expert Dr. Jean Lavallee spoke on a variety of topics including lobster biology and the stressors that lobsters encounter during the harvest and points thereafter. “We’re just trying to make them more aware from a lobster’s perspective,” said Dr. Lavallee. Dr. Lavallee said a lobster takes a unique recovery from a stressor. Immediately, the lobster enters the alarm phase, then the reaction phase, followed by the resistance phase, then the exhaustion phase, and then death. Video, Read the rest here 11:27

Marine Resources Committee approves stripped-down version of lobster license changes

pat&govsmLawmakers on the committee that handles marine resources issues voted Wednesday to make modest changes in the rules that control lobster fishing licenses in Maine, side-stepping a more controversial proposal for access to Maine’s most lucrative fishery. Members of the Marine Resources Committee voted 11-1 to increase the age for young people to finish a required apprenticeship program, and to take steps to verify the validity of hundreds of names on a license waiting list. The action was a compromise between attempts by the Department of Marine Resources to trim the waiting list without hurting the resource and established lobstermen, who were opposed to what they saw as a loss of control and the potential for overfishing. Read the rest here 14:38

Maine lobster industry wary as warm waters suggest repeat of disastrous 2012 season

For those in the lobster industry, any sign of a return to the conditions of 2012 is cause for high anxiety. Researchers say the industry needs to be prepared for that possibility because warming trends are laying the groundwork for a potential repeat of the disastrous season of four years ago. “We learned a hard lesson in 2012,” said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Because of warm waters in the Gulf of Maine, peak harvesting started in May that year, weeks ahead of schedule. The catch jumped more than 20 percent, from 104 million pounds in 2011 to 127 million pounds in 2012. The shedding season,,, Read the article here 10:29

Maine Lobstermen’s Association kicks off new year with focus on lobster marketing

On Jan. 6, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) hosted the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative’s executive director Matt Jacobson at its first monthly board meeting of 2016. The MLA, founded in 1954, is the state’s oldest fishermen’s organization. The MLA was instrumental in establishing the Collaborative in 2013. Lobstermen are reporting an excellent year for both volume of lobster landings and profit for the 2015 fishing season. This is in stark contrast to the steady decreases in profit the industry suffered after the economic crash of 2008,,, Read the article here 20:20

Three Maine Lobsterman Organizations weigh in on Cashes Ledge Monument Proposal

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Downeast Lobstermen’s Association and cashes ledge closed are weighing in, along with groups from other states, on the new National Marine Monument proposed for Cashes Ledge and the New England Canyons in the Gulf of Maine. “To unilaterally allow such a designation would usurp the established habitat and fisheries management public process and could be economically catastrophic not only to the commercial and charter fishermen but also to hundreds of small coastal communities in New England,” Read the rest here 11:18:08

What to do with an icon: Boston PR firm hired to retool branding for Maine lobster

mainebiz“We’ve got a great story to tell,” adds David Cousens, a fisherman and president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “We’re poor at telling it, but we need to get better at it. We’re independent businessmen, we catch the product, we bring it in fresh. It’s a great, healthy, wild-caught product coming out of pristine water. We need to get that story out there because that story sells.” Read the rest here 20:59