Tag Archives: lobster industry

Maine lobstermen signal opposition to participating in ropeless testing program

Maine lobstermen are signaling their hesitation to participate in a multimillion-dollar program the state is launching to test new ropeless technology that the federal government soon may require to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Lobstermen have been largely unhappy with the regulations, fearing that the regulations will destroy the lobstering industry as they know it. Maine’s congressional delegation succeeded in securing legislative approval for a reprieve that stalls the regulations from going into effect until Jan. 1, 2029. Industry groups also have succeeded in taking NOAA to court, where the regulations are still tied up. Even so, the clock is ticking and the Department of Marine Resources wants to be prepared for what it expects is an inevitable regulation. more, >>click to read<< 06:31

NFWF grants support Maine lobster industry participation in alternative fishing gear testing

“Alternative gear, also known as “on demand” gear is a long way from being viable for fishermen or for whales,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher.  “It is my goal to make sure we know what gear works, and more importantly what doesn’t work, so when future draft federal regulations come forward, we can draw on the real-world experience of fishermen when determining what the next steps should be.” One award of $1,999,992 will support the evaluation of acoustic geolocation systems that locate gear on the bottom without the benefit of surface buoys which are part of traditional gear configurations.  Regional partners will include the Island Institute, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, the Sunrise County Economic Council, and the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation.  more, >>click to read<< 06:09

At Mackerel Cove wharf, Arizona-based lobster chain learns as it grows

There, an upstart fast food company called Angie’s Lobster offers rolls filled with a quarter-pound of New England’s favorite crustacean that’s served warm and buttered, chilled, grilled or fried. Add in a drink, fries and their trademark sauce and the total comes to — wait for it — $9.99. Is there a catch? Yep, in more ways than one. It all begins with Harpswell lobster boats and a historic wharf nestled into Mackerel Cove on Bailey Island. In the summer of 2022, Angie’s bought a long-standing family lobster pound there and established the first link in a supply chain that is bringing Vacationland lobster to Arizona drive-thru diners at eye-poppingly low prices. Tony Christofellis, who founded the company and named it for his late mother, says business is good and getting better. He says buying the Bailey Island wharf was “the coolest thing we’ve ever done.” Photos, >>click to read<< 08:10

His passion is lobstering, his worry is the future

Christopher Robert Tobey Jr. was born on July 22, 1991, in Portland, into a family of fishermen. He spent a lot of time on the docks and water. He watched his father and grandfather talk with other fishermen and learned the lingo. He also learned a lot by going to other docks because everyone does things differently. “As a little kid, I always knew who everyone was and what their boat was,” he said. Tobey’s father always told him fishing wasn’t easy, but it was there if he wanted it. “I started lobster fishing because my father was a lobster fisherman, and when I was a kid that’s all I wanted to do,” he said. However, fishing is dangerous. And on May 11, 2008, Tobey’s life changed forever. “It was Mother’s Day, a Sunday, and we went out to go fishing to fill some orders for a couple of my dad’s friends,” Tobey said. “I remember it was me, my father and another fisherman, Robbie Blackburn. He was working for my dad. We went out and it was a great day and the weather started to turn.” >>click to read<< 09:53

Lobster ‘red list’ draws ire, lawsuit from Maine fishers

A coalition representing the Maine lobster industry is suing an aquarium on the other side of the country for recommending seafood customers avoid buying a variety of lobster mostly harvested in their state. Industry groups including Maine Lobstermen’s Association are suing the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California for “defamation,” arguing in a lawsuit filed Monday that their prized catch shouldn’t be on a “red list” published by Seafood Watch, a conservation program it operates. Last year, Seafood Watch put lobster from the U.S. and Canada on its list of seafood to avoid due to the threat posed to rare whales by entanglement in fishing gear used to harvest American lobster, the species that makes up most of the U.S. lobster market. >click to read< 15:47

Lobster industry says regulations to save right whales will push them out of business

Lobsters support about 15,000 jobs and contribute more than a billion dollars to the Maine economy. And yet the industry sees itself in an existential battle, pitted against a rare species fighting its own existential battle. North Atlantic right whales, critically endangered, fewer than 350 individuals remain. And they are dying at a devastating rate. Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator of Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: If we don’t stabilize and begin the recovery, they will be gone within a couple of decades. They will be extinct. They will be wiped off this Earth. And we want to do everything we can to prevent that from happening. >video< 10:30

Court decision a major win for Maine’s lobster industry

In its decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, and plaintiff-intervenors the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Lobstering Union, and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, ruling that NMFS distorted the science driving the regulation, relying improperly on assumptions and worst-case scenarios when determining the risk posed by industry to right whales. The court noted that the lack of data led NMFS to conclude the lobster and Jonah crab federal fisheries kill 46 whale deaths per decade, a “staggering departure from the two documented deaths known to have originated in all U.S. fisheries over a period of nine years.” >click to read< 09:58

Lobsterman catches 3rd rare orange lobster in a week

A lobsterman working out of Portland caught his third rare orange lobster in a week on Thursday. Capt. Peter Pray showed up at Harbor Fish Market with another orange lobster, after catching two last Friday, according to CBS 13. Pray reportedly used the same trap he used to catch the first two. Pray caught the lobster using the same trap that he used to catch the first two. Photos, video, >click to read< 09:05

Rockland Council holds off on resolve that supports lobster industry, dismisses right whale concerns

The City Council voted Monday evening, June 12, to postpone for two months a resolve to support the lobster industry out of concern that the language goes too far in dismissing concerns about the impact on the endangered right whale. Councilor Austin was unsuccessful in removing some of the language from the resolve concerning right whales. That vote was 3-2 against removing the language with the mayor supporting Austin’s effort. The statements at issue in the resolve were ones that dismissed the concerns that environmentalists have about the lobster industry’s impact on right whales. >click to read< 08:02

Canadian and American lobster industry confronts ‘ropeless’ traps after whale entanglements

Injuries to endangered North Atlantic Right Whales ensnared in fishing gear have fueled a prominent campaign by environmental groups to pressure the industry to adopt on-demand equipment that only suspends ropes in the water briefly before traps are pulled from the water. To address the problem, the U.S. and Canadian governments have imposed new regulation on lobster and crab fisheries in recent years, including the use of weak links in rope that break if a whale swims through, color-coded rope for tracing, adding more traps per buoy line, and zone closures during whale migration. Washington and Ottawa are now promoting ropeless fishing as a possible long-term solution. But lobstermen, particularly in Maine where 80% of U.S. lobster is caught, are not enthusiastic. >click to read< 08:49

Nova Scotia MP questions Chinese ‘control’ over lobster industry – Exporter calls claims ‘kind of racist’

“My concern overall is the growing influence of China and the control of our lobster industry itself and that’s throughout the supply chain,” said Rick Perkins, the Conservative MP for South Shore -St. Margarets, where lobster fishing is a cornerstone of the economy. Perkins raised the issue recently at a parliamentary committee looking into foreign ownership and corporate concentration of commercial fishing in Canada. “What about China? I know, for example, on the South Shore, I’m seeing China buy our buyers. What’s the impact of that? I also understand they control the freight forwarder at the Halifax airport,” Perkins asked Colin Sproul, an inshore fishermen’s representative appearing before the committee. >click to read< 07:36

Maine: Fishing industry forum May 24

Our way of life up and down the Maine coast is under attack. Families that have made their living in the lobster industry for generations are on the road to extinction. If the federal government has their way, pending regulations will force the lobster industry out of business and the Gulf of Maine will be reserved for offshore wind. The Lincoln County Republicans are hosting an event on May 24 where the public can hear, firsthand, from three prominent men in the Maine fishing industry – Representative Billy Bob Faulkingham, Dustin Delano and Jason Joyce. The event will be held at Coastal Christian School, 574 N. Nobleboro Road, Waldoboro. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. >click to read< 15:52

Maine lawmakers call for more hearings on whale rules

Members of Maine’s congressional delegation are asking the federal government to hold more hearings on whale protection rules to gauge the impact on the state’s commercial fishing industry. In a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Angus King, I-Maine, said the federal agency’s decision to hold only one public hearing last week on the new regulations “unacceptable” and called for more engagement with the lobster industry. The lawmakers wrote that the 90% risk reduction target fisheries regulators are pursuing over the next two years to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales would be a “death knell” for lobstermen. >click to read< 19:06

Lobster harvesters worry about survival of their livelihoods

The state’s lobster industry is bracing as federal regulators consider additional requirements they claim are needed to protect the endangered North American right whale, proposals many fear could spell doom for the industry and the coastal communities that it supports. Squaring off in this battle are national environmental and animal rights organizations versus Maine and its lobster harvesters. The legal war began in January 2018 when the Center for Biological Diversity, the Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of D.C. against the U.S. Department of Commerce and the NOAA. The environmental and animal rights groups claimed the federal agencies had not done enough to protect the North Atlantic right whale from lobster harvesting. >click to read< 12:42

Letter to the Editor: The big-money green-lie

Dear Editor: It’s the big-money green-lie. Maine lobstermen are not killing whales. Progressive, woke Democrats climate change scams are killing the heart and soul of Maine. No evidence. Zero whales have been killed in this century by lobster gear entanglements. Solar and wind equal a financial bonanza for politicians, long-standing innocuous traditions are standing (fishing) in their way. No leadership. Elected officials sworn-in to represent and protect are cashing-in on special interest, new-green deal-threats that do not exist. >click to read< By Dave Gregg

On The Ropes – Federal court rules against lobster industry in appeal of whale protection regulations

“Obviously, it’s devastating to the lobster industry,” Stonington Town Manager Kathleen Billings told the Islander. Stonington lands by far the most lobsters in the state. In total, Maine lobstermen added an estimated $724,949,426 worth of lobster landings to the state commercial fishery in 2021.  “We have a lot at stake,” Billings continued. “[Lobstering] makes up $60 [million] to $70 million to our economy and to have this recent ruling, and also too with the Seafood Watch list designation, they pretty much put a torch to our industry and burnt it to the ground for us.” >click to read< 08:55

Massachusetts: New relief fund would buoy lobster industry

A proposed state fund would provide financial relief to commercial lobstermen whose livelihoods are being impacted by state and federal regulations aimed at protecting critically endangered north Atlantic right whales. Tucked into a $52.7 billion state budget awaiting action by Gov. Charlie Baker is a proposal to create a new grant program with $500,000 in initial funding. The plan calls for providing grants of up to $5,000 to licensed lobstermen to help offset the cost of purchasing new gear and equipment needed to comply with the new whale protection rules. The grant money must be distributed in a “geographically equitable manner” under the proposal. Senate minority leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who pushed for the funding, said it will help buoy lobstermen who are struggling to afford the expense of upgrading their gear and equipment. >click to read< 17:50

Maine lobster industry braces for tough season after back-to-back legal losses

“We recently got our license to be able to start processing small amounts on site, so that is cooking the lobster and picking out the meat … in hopes of taking out one step,” Jillian Robillard said. A step that she said could give lobstermen another 25 to 50 cents per animal. “That would really be a gamechanger for some of these guys,” Robillard said. “This year has been really tough so far … we’re banking on the fall season to give these guys two-thirds of their income … but with the closures and stuff we’re just not going to see that happen.” The closure she is talking about is the latest development in three lawsuits involving Maine lobstermen. Two of which that have recent rulings within the last week overturned in favor of environmental groups. >click to read< 11:13

Lobster industry and lawmakers await court decision to determine legality of new restrictions

Maine and Massachusetts harvest more than 90% of the American lobsters sold in the U.S. and most lobstermen and New England lawmakers want to keep it that way. Over the past year, a dispute over new federal regulations on Maine’s lobster industry, intended to protect the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale,,, Mike Sargent became the captain of his own boat at 15. The 29-year-old is worried, however, that if regulations adopted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2021 are ruled lawful by the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, that more expensive and stricter regulations could follow. “There’s talks of ropeless fishing and so on, and those are astronomically expensive and quite frankly could bankrupt this industry at the stroke of a pen,” Sargent said. Massachusetts lobsterman Dave Casoni said that it would cost lobstermen between $500,000-$600,000 to make the switch to ropeless traps, and if passed Casoni believes it could bankrupt the industry. Video, >click to read< 09:16

Massachusetts weighs relief fund to the lobster industry

Lawmakers want to create a new fund to help commercial lobstermen whose livelihoods are being impacted by state and federal regulations aimed at protecting critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. An amendment added to the Senate version of the $49.7 billion state budget, approved Thursday, May 26, would set up a lobstering closure mitigation fund through the state’s unemployment system with at least $12 million in initial funding. The amendment was co-sponsored by Sens. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, who say the move will provide “much needed relief” for the lobster industry. “It is absolutely critical that we provide relief to the people in this industry which is so important to the commonwealth,” Tarr said. “As the second largest provider of lobster in the nation these workers are needed for another day, another year, and another generation.” >click to read< 08:03

Broad right whale regulations decried by Massachusetts lobster industry

Lobster industry representatives and conservationists are pondering regulations aimed at protecting right whales, which continue to hamper Massachusetts fishermen causing months of lost income. Since 2015, lobstermen have had to work around area restrictions prohibiting fishing in gillnet fisheries during the time right whales are often present. So far, the Bay State has reduced its risk to right whales by 92% through a suite of measures including closures, weak rope, line diameter restrictions and trawling up, Casoni said. >click to read< 11:11

Let’s save Maine’s lobster industry from death by regulation

If you’ve ever been to the state of Oregon – home of the “other” Portland – you only need to drive south of the big city to see the human impact of overzealous conservationism. This is the habitat of the Spotted Owl, whose inclusion to the endangered species list in 1990 shut down the timber industry there, eliminating 32,000 jobs in the process. Something eerily similar is about to happen to iconic Maine lobstermen in an effort to save the Right Whale.  >click to read< 08:07

Massachusetts lobster industry feels impact of right whale protections

If you live in Massachusetts and you want locally caught lobster on Mother’s Day weekend, you’ll be out of luck. Commercial lobstering in Massachusetts waters is off-limits until later in May, which means, for the time being, any lobster being sold in Massachusetts has to be caught in Canadian waters. “It’s getting harder and harder every year,” lobsterman Tom Reilly said. “They make it more and more difficult for us with the closures.” Video, >click to read< 09:19

$30 million relief fund for lobstermen gets initial nod in Maine House

Starting on May 1, lobstermen in Maine will have to begin using weaker rope or special links on traplines that are designed to allow a whale to break free from fishing gear. The new federal regulations are aimed at preventing endangered North Atlantic right whales from potentially deadly entanglements. Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, a fisherman from Winter Harbor in Hancock County, said the proposed $30 million fund from the state will help mitigate the costs for an iconic industry that generates more than $1 billion for the state. “We are going to be hurting for the money to comply with those rope regulations,” >click to read< 13:37

Regulators say newer new Right whale rules are coming for Maine’s lobster fleet/fixed gear fisheries

Federal regulators said they will soon start a process to create new whale-protection rules for Maine’s lobster fleet that will go beyond the controversial regulations going into effect on May 1. Michael Pentony, the regional administrator for NOAA, spoke to an online meeting of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum today. He said that the initial rules were designed to reduce the risk to whales by 60%, but recent evidence shows that the agency must act more quickly than planned to reduce that risk even more. “But as we got new information late last fall… for the right whale population, we now know that we need a 90% risk reduction,” >click to read< 11:50

Maine lobster industry fights lawsuit that aims to shut down fishery

While Maine’s lobster industry has been fighting an offensive legal battle against impending rules to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, it also is playing defense in a case brought by environmentalists that seeks to shut down the lobster fishery entirely. Lobster industry groups are intervening in a case brought in Washington, D.C.’s U.S. District Court by the Center for Biological Diversity and other plaintiffs that argues the new federal restrictions aren’t adequate, and that the fishery’s continued operation poses an existential threat to the whales. >click to read< 19:15

Lobster industry needs more time to meet new regulations

Not only is the fishery being forced to change based on insufficient evidence regarding whale entanglements, it is being forced to do so on a schedule that is both too tight and poorly timed. That has left lobstermen scrambling to meet the May 1 deadline for using special weakened rope, rope that is in short supply, if it can be found at all. The Biden administration should see that the industry can’t make this deadline without causing harm. It should be extended to a more reasonable date. Under the new rules, lobster boats must use new weakened rope, or special inserts that are designed to weaken the existing rope, depending on where they fish. >click to read< 10:03

The future of fishing is innovation.

Maine’s lobstermen begin 2022 with a unique opportunity to fundamentally solve the whale entanglement issue. Throughout history technology has been used to improve our lives and solve complex problems. Invention has brought us cell phones, computers, satellites, and soon, self-driving cars and a base on the moon. >click to read< By Zack Klyver 10:55

As Maine’s climate changes, scallop farming offers optimism

“One of the reasons we started farming scallops was because even though there’s a hesitancy for most people to admit it, there’s an awful lot of storms on the horizon for the lobster industry,” said Alex de Koning, of Bar Harbor-based ​mussel and oyster farm Acadia Aqua Farms. “It’s a tough nut to crack, but if you crack it, your potential benefits are just tremendous.”,, Marsden Brewer, owner of PenBay Farmed Scallops in Stonington, has been a commercial fisherman for most of his life. When his son, Bob, was in high school, Brewer worried about what the future would hold. Neither ground fishing nor lobstering seemed like a stable occupation,,, “I got tired of worrying about limitations,” he said. “I wanted to do something where I could maybe realize my potential.” >click to read< 13:11

Lobster fishing being threatened

Commercial fishing, in particular, lobster fishing is an integral part of our local community and the economy of our state. This way of life is being threatened by new burdensome federal regulations. Over time, this will drive many fishermen out of business and forever change the character of the Maine lobster industry and our community. These regulations are championed as a way to help protect the North Atlantic right whale but will fail to do so. We have to fight back against this regulatory onslaught. >click to read< by Troy Plummer and Mark Jones, and please click and donate to www.savemainelobstermen.org, if you can!