Tag Archives: Stonington

Challenges abound, but lobstermen say they’re in it for the long haul

Around 2 a.m. each morning, a parade of trucks from around the region begins the journey down to the Stonington docks, marking the start of another day of lobstering in Maine. In short, a large part of coastal Hancock County and beyond depend on lobster. One of the locals that has made her living off lobster is Julie Eaton, a member of Stonington’s 300-plus lobster boat fleet. She’s been at it for 39 years now and to her it’s not just a job, it’s a way of life. Every fisherman has their own story, but almost all of them say they got into the business because they love working on the ocean. For the hundreds of lobstermen in the region, things are going pretty well at the moment, even with the pandemic. While things are going well, if you talk to almost any Downeast lobstermen about the future of their industry, the conversation will come to two things: right whales and wind turbines. >click to read< 13:28

Iconic sardine carrier restoration larger than first predicted

When Campbell “Buzz” Scott embarked on restoring Pauline, a 1948 sardine carrier, he knew it was going to be a bit of a project. Scott and the nonprofit OceansWide have dreams of reviving the 83-foot vessel and repurposing it for educational programs, as well as it being a launching pad for the organization’s remotely operated underwater vehicle. But Scott’s initial assessment was off. Pauline doesn’t need a revival; it needs a resurrection.  “This is going to be a total rebuild with the exception of the keel and a few of the other timbers, which are still original from 1948,”,, “At the time, we thought we could get away with a few planks and a new engine and putting a new topside on,” Scott said. While painting the boat, they found a rotted plank, which led to finding another and another. >click to read< 08:12

Connecticut: Stonington celebrates 68th Blessing of the Fleet

During Sunday morning’s Fishermen’s Mass at St. Mary Church, the Rev. Dennis Perkins read the names of the 41 fishermen from the Town Dock fleet who have died at sea. “If that doesn’t touch you, I don’t know what will,” said Cris Cruz, a Knights of Columbus member from Groton, who has attended the Mass for the past decade. The Mass marked the traditional beginning to the 68th Blessing of the Fleet, which remembers the local fishermen lost at sea and prays for the success and safety of current fleet members. photos, >click to read< 08:20

All about freshness: Local seafood rushed to markets near and far

As the crew of the Jenna Lynn II offloaded its catch earlier this month at the Town Dock, Eddie Gambardella watched as six of his employees quickly filled about 30 boxes with ice and 60 pounds each of fluke, scup, ling, sea bass, squid and other species that slid down a sorting table. The owner of Gambardella Wholesale Fish Dealers already had orders for the catch from his customers, mostly wholesalers in New York City. He credits his late uncle Mike Gambardella, a fierce supporter of the Town Dock fishing community who died in March 2020, as his inspiration.  A color photo of him hangs on the wall, along with black-and-white images of Gambardella’s grandfather and great-grandfather. “Everything I learned was through my uncle. He was my teacher. I never went to college. He showed me everything,” Gambardella said. “I owe everything I have to him. It sucks that he’s not here. I miss him every day.” >click to read< or here 08:17

Connecticut: Organizers focused on ‘the important things’ ahead of 68th annual Blessing of the Fleet

Stonington – In late 1989, rescue teams and U.S. Coast Guard personnel spent more than 11 days combing 10,000 square miles of ocean off the coast of Nantucket using three aircraft carriers and two cutters following the disappearance of the Heidi Marie, a 72-foot commercial lobster boat out of Stonington that went missing just before Thanksgiving. The search teams found evidence of possible distress that was believed to have killed the boat’s five occupants, Capt. Mark Middleton and crew members Arthur Banks, Kenneth Raymond Gould, Michael Lane and Ray Morris. Their bodies were never found, but their story and the stories of other local fisherman who died will not be forgotten, thanks in part to a long-rooted tradition that will return this weekend when St. Mary Church in Stonington hosts its 68th annual Blessing of the Fleet. >click to read< 22:10

Wild Wild West sets new record at Stonington lobster boat races

Lobstermen put away the traps and opened the throttles this weekend at the Stonington lobster boat races. About 75 boats participated in the races this year, with a strong local presence and a contingent for Vinalhaven and North Haven, said Jon Johansen, the president of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association. Cameron Crawford’s Wild Wild West, always a top contender at the races, clocked 61.6 mph, setting a new diesel record by about 1 mph, en route to first place in the diesel free for all, Johansen said. >click to read< 08:59

Commercial fishermen being ignored on wind farm projects

For the past three decades, Town Dock fishermen and their counterparts across the Northeast have struggled to stay afloat in the face of strict regulations designed to rebuild depleted stocks of cod, flounder and other species. But now that many of the species have rebounded and government regulators are increasing the amounts of fish they can land, the fishermen face a new threat: offshore wind farms. Longtime Town Dock fisherman Bob Guzzo said the federal government is giving away land that fishermen have used to feed people for more than 300 years. “I’d like to pass this on to someone else who wants to go fishing,” he said. >click to read<  18:54

This comment is excellent-Seems like we can add to the list of lies from big wind, if anyone is keeping score. I would doubt it, their whole industry is based on lies!

What a life Stevie Robbins had

Inside an old trap shop on West Main Street down by the harbor, Stevie Robbins for many years played his guitar and sang on Sunday mornings, starting at 7 a.m. Anyone who wanted to could join him, and many did. ,, He was a highline fishermen, one of the first to fish off the Georges Banks. A master boat handler and lobster catcher, he was tough and strong and determined, said Brian in a phone interview. “He could walk across your living  room floor and there’d be a lobster hanging off his pant-leg by the time he got to the other end,” he said. At first he fished inshore with Brian. Then the stories about the offshore fishermen, Bob Brown and Benny Beal, started to trickle down to the Robbins boys. In 1977, they set out for the offshore grounds in the 44’ Shirley and Freeman, named for his mother and grandfather. At first, they had little luck. What they did catch they sold to Clyde Conary. “We didn’t make Clyde any money,” said Brian. “He’d have a cigarette, and say, ‘I got faith in you boys.’” photo’s,  >click to read< 08:25

The Blessing of the Fleet in Stonington, Connecticut

The tradition of the annual Blessing of the Fleet in Stonington continued this year, albeit with a much smaller crowd and scaled-back ceremonies. The blessing remembers local fishermen who have died at sea and honors the vessels — along with their captains, owners, crews and families — that will go out to sea in the year ahead. The gathering took place July 26 after a Fishermen’s Mass in St. Mary Church in Stonington Borough. >click to read<, and >click here for a photo gallery< 11:28

Bob Guzzo Talks Quotas, Offshore Wind, Coronavirus, and Fishing out of Stonington, Connecticut

“We’re giving up traditional fishing grounds that we’ve had for hundreds of years, that have fed the country, that are now going to light a light bulb and it’s not going to be worthwhile,” Guzzo said of the proposed wind farms located in federal waters. The location of the wind farms also destroys longtime fisheries, said Guzzo. “They’re taking away places that we’ve fished for this country over hundreds of years and we’re losing that ground,” he said.,, Quotas and Coronavirus, “I got tired of throwing fish overboard, I could never stand it. I started too long ago and never had to do this. The way they make you fish today is a crime,” >click to read< 08:01

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

Changing climate boosts Maine lobster industry — for now

Maine’s lobster industry has found itself in something of a climate change sweet spot. The state’s coastal waters are still cold enough for lobster to thrive, but warming ocean temperatures are now encouraging them to settle here, mate and eventually shed their hard shells.,,, “Maine has enjoyed this abundant, expanding resource but everything that comes up must come down, and that is very related to climate change because that is very related to water temperature,” said Genevieve McDonald, a lobsterman and Stonington’s new representative in the Maine Legislature. >click to read< 16:44

Photos from the 66th Annual Blessing Of The Fleet in Stonington, Connecticut

The 66th annual Blessing of the Fleet was held Sunday, July 28 in Stonington Borough to honor and remember those who have died at sea on the last commercial fishing fleet in Connecticut. The event honors and blesses the vessels and their captains, owners, crews and families that will go out to sea in the year ahead. >click to read< 12:41

Ocean Shock: Lobster’s great migration sets up boom and bust

A lobster tattoo covers Drew Eaton’s left forearm, its pincers snapping at dock lines connecting it to the American flag on his upper arm. The tattoo is about three-quarters done, but the 27-year-old is too busy with his new boat to finish it.,,, Eaton belongs to a new generation of Maine lobstermen who are riding high, for now, on a sweet spot of climate change. Two generations ago, the entire New England coast had a thriving lobster industry. Today, lobster catches have collapsed in southern New England, and the only state with a significant harvest is north in Maine, where the seafood practically synonymous with the state has exploded. >click  to read<11:54

Stonington fishermen to hold open house on Saturday at Gambardella’s Wholesale Seafood at the Town Dock

The town’s commercial fishermen will hold an open house from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, at the Gambardella’s Wholesale Seafood location at the Town Dock. The event is being billed as an opportunity for residents to meet fishermen, local retailers and restaurants and find out what types of seafood are for sale locally this time of year and how the fish are processed and prepared for the local market. There will be an opportunity for people to go aboard a working fishing boat and learn how it operates as well as meet fishermen, ask them questions and learn what issues are concerning to them. >click to read<17:32

64th Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies set for Sunday in Stonington, Connecticut

The 64th annual Blessing of the Fleet in the borough will honor local fishermen who have died at sea with traditional remembrances and prayers and, for the first time, an exhibit of artifacts and photographs from local fishing boats. The Blessing is slated for Sunday, although festivities kick off today with the Blessing of the Fleet 5k road race at 6 p.m. in the borough. Each year, the event focuses on commemorating fishermen who died at sea, with special prayers for the safety and success of current fishermen, said Georgia Crowley, who co-chairs the event with her husband, Mike, and Ellie Dunn, all members of St. Mary Church in the borough. click here to read the story 11:55

In a small marine community in Maine, Lobsters Are Keeping Students in School

Three hours from Portland, Maine, and two hours from the state capital of Augusta, picturesque Deer Isle has two towns on it (Deer Isle and Stonington), a combined year-round population of about 2,500 people, and not a single fast-food chain—or any chain store for that matter. Those who live beyond the narrow, turquoise suspension bridge connecting Deer Isle to the mainland are called PFAs (“people from away”), even if they work or attend school on the island. At the southern end of the predominantly middle-class, overwhelmingly white island lies a small but bustling harbor. In 2015, Stonington port brought in $63.8 million worth of lobster, landing it the title of Maine’s no. 1 commercial fishing port. The influence of maritime culture is evident at every turn: The local convenience store opens at 3:30 a.m. in the summers to accommodate early-to-rise fishermen.,,But getting young people to stay in school is another story. At the island’s only high school, Deer Isle-Stonington High School (DISHS), there has been a sense among some students that school is just standing in the way of going off and making money, and some of their parents see school as basically a lousy babysitter. Read the story here 14:38

At annual Stonington blessing, fishermen add one more to ranks of those who have died at sea

AR-160739887.jpg&Maxw=960When Peggy Krupinski used to attend the Blessing of the Fleet each year, her husband Walter was always with her. This year, she came alone. Helped on both sides on Sunday by the family members of men who lost their lives on fishing boats, Krupinski held an anchor-shaped wreath of red flowers over Stonington Harbor. Standing behind her on the fishing boat Neptune, The Most Rev. Michael Cote, bishop of Norwich, read a prayer. “O God, who alone know the depth of the oceans and the destiny of souls, we commit to your care those who never returned from the sea.” Krupinski let the wreath drop into the harbor. “Give them pardon and peace with you, and grant that we may see them again.” And with that, Walter Krupinski — known as “Wally — was added to the list of Stonington fishermen who have died at sea. Read the rest here 11:06

Stonington: Bureaucracy claims another victim – After more than a century, Wilcox Marine closing down

STONINGTON — Jeff Wilcox can remember when there were 50 commercial fishing draggers in Stonington Harbor. Now there are only two, said the owner of Wilcox Marine Supply Inc. As the fishing industry has declined — due to overly stringent federal regulations, fishermen say — Wilcox’s customer base has shriveled. And now, he says he has to close the doors of his longtime family-owned business. [email protected] 19:15