Tag Archives: Maine lobstermen

Maine lobstermen catch ancient 7-foot anchor while hauling traps

A pair of midcoast lobstermen were almost done hauling traps Tuesday when they pulled some ancient history out of the depths: A large anchor covered in a thick layer of rust and sea coral had snagged on one of their traps. “It was kind of exciting,” recalled Logan Aiken, who serves as sternman on Sweet Victory, the lobster boat owned and captained by his brother Peter. This was not the first time the brothers who fish out of Cushing. had caught an old anchor: They pulled up another one a few years ago, but it fell back into the sea before they could wrangle it in. This time around, they avoided that mistake by quickly slipping a line around the iron beast and yanking it into the boat. >>click to read<< 19:18

Dec 15 deadline nears for lobster boat tracking devices in federal waters

Maine lobstermen who fish in federal waters have only a few weeks left until the Dec. 15 deadline to install and activate recently distributed tracking devices on their boats to comply with a regulation of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). The Particle One devices were sent by Maine’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) with an accompanying letter of explanation. As required by the ASMFC regulation approved last year, each minute the boat is moving, the tracker will collect both the time and its position.  The device will also monitor a boat when it is tied up every six hours until it moves again. Local lobstermen are concerned monitoring their locations infringes on their privacy, while ASMFC believes it will be useful information to have. Some lobstermen have returned the trackers to DMR. >>click to read<< 13:02

Maine Lobstermen to donate Tuesday haul, restaurants will donate proceeds to Lewiston

As the Lewiston community tries to heal since the mass shootings that took place two weeks ago, some Mainers in Portland are uniting Tuesday to raise money the best way they know how. Luke’s Lobster, J’s Oyster, DiMillo’s, and The Porthole are collaborating with lobstermen and dealers to raise funds for the victims and their families. Lobstermen and dealers will donate lobsters, and each restaurant will serve up its own unique lobster special, donating all proceeds. “If we can just do what we do and the lobster dealers can separate out the product and the restaurants can cook and serve it, then by just doing what we do, we can help Lewiston somehow,” Steve Train, a lobsterman from Long Island, ME, said.  Video, >>click to read<< 07:53

Fishermen in Maine lobbied to keep wind farms out of crucial fishing grounds. Will it happen in N.S.?

A no-compromise lobbying campaign by Maine lobster harvesters has helped keep wind farms out of a crucial lobster fishing area in the Gulf of Maine. And that has some fishermen in Nova Scotia casting an envious eye south of the border. “I’m pleased to see that happen in Maine. We’d like to see the same sort of diligence taken in Nova Scotia,” said Tommy Amirault, a fisherman from Pubnico and president of the Coldwater Lobster Association. “Maine obviously has concerns. It would be nice to see both provincial and federal governments take our concerns into practice,” Amirault said. “We didn’t mince words that we opposed offshore wind anywhere in the Gulf of Maine. It’s one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. And we really didn’t think that this is the place to solve the renewable energy crisis,” said McCarron. In Nova Scotia, the process has just begun. He said it’s no surprise fishermen have concerns about where it happens. >>click to read<< 06:57

NOAA wants to expand ‘ropeless’ fishing gear pilot to include some Maine lobstermen

Last winter as part of a pilot project, some Massachusetts lobstermen were allowed to fish in areas that are seasonally closed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. But they had to use so-called “on-demand” or “ropeless” fishing gear and work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to share their feedback. Now NOAA wants to expand the program to include lobster and other fixed-gear fishermen throughout New England. Federal officials have proposed issuing permits to more than 200 people, with priority given to those who fish closed areas during the winter. More than 100 people in Maine fish those closed areas. And fishermen aren’t thrilled with the idea of opening access to only some of them, said Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association — unless there’s enough on-demand gear to go around to everyone. >click to read< 10:00

Federal judges: Data does not prove Maine lobstering endangers whales

Friday, a panel of judges ruled that data on entanglements in lobster fishing gear does not support the need for the new strict limits on where and how lobstermen could fish. Those regulations, set by the National Marine Fisheries Service, were put in place under the authority of the Endangered Species Act to protect the 340 North Atlantic Right Whales whales left. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association says there is no evidence of Maine lobster gear ever killing a whale. There has been no documented entanglement of a North Atlantic Right Whale since 2004. “Every lobsterman in Maine was facing a decision of whether or not they would be able to continue in the fishery,” MLA policy director Patrice McCarron said. Video, >click to read< 08:55

Maine lobstermen stirring the pots win bigly in federal court

Back in 2021, the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issued an opinion in pursuit of preserving the endangered right whale. As these edicts go, this “opinion” has basically force of law when it comes to imposing conservation-based measures, rules and restrictions. The right whale, which has a population hovering at a tad less than 350 individuals, has been a focus of efforts for some years. The lobster industry, reviled by many environmentalists, became an easy target for a revised set of regulations when the Biden administration took over. And they hammered them. >click to read and comment< 18:21

Maine bill to pay lobstermen to test new gear gets initial Senate approval

The bill seeks to set aside $1 million a year for the next two years to help lobstermen comply with federal regulations that could kick-in within six years. Following the Senate vote on Tuesday, bill sponsor Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic) said federal regulators have “targeted Maine’s lobster industry as a scapegoat.” “The bipartisan fight against these untenable regulations is ongoing,” she said in a statement. “This bill will help make sure that lobstermen are prepared for what might be on the horizon.” Vitelli’s bill, which faces additional House and Senate votes, would provide stipends to reimburse lobstermen for time they spend testing gear. >click to read< 09:05

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

Maine Lobstermen speak out about economic and regulatory struggles

“We get told what we’re going to get paid for the product, and we get told what we’re going to be charged for the bait. We’re the ones providing, and it seems as though we’re also getting the short end of the stick,” said commercial lobsterman Dwight Staples. With rising inflation, fisherman say they’ve been hit hard. “For me personally, it was like $800 a day just to go fishing — and that was on like a three dollar lobster. So you’ve got to go, and you’ve got to catch over 250 pounds before you even break expense,” said Staples. In addition to the rising costs of running a lobster fishing business, lobstermen say that fishing regulations have made it more difficult to turn a profit, even when reeling in a good haul.  Video, >click to read< 09:07

Maine: Lobstermen support better science to help right whales

The historical record of Maine lobstermen is clear.One right whale entangled in 2004 was disentangled and swam free. No right whale death has ever been attributed to Maine lobster gear. Gov. Janet Mills and our congressional delegation, without partisanship, acknowledge Maine lobstermen are not a threat to the right whale population. Despite never having seen one in the 50 years I’ve fished; I’ve made multiple changes to make my gear more whale friendly. These changes have been time-consuming, expensive, and potentially dangerous to me and my crew but resulted in less rope in the water. >click to read< 11:52

Under pressure, Maine lobstermen could get funding to test new gear that could safeguard whales and their livelihoods

Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic) is sponsoring LD 1552, which would set aside $1 million a year for the next two years to provide stipends to lobstermen to test new lobster gear. “Over the past several years many fishermen have come to terms with the fact that some level of innovation will be needed to ensure the future of the fishery.” A move by the state’s congressional delegation late last year delayed implementation of additional regulations for six years, buying the industry time to “develop new fishing gear technologies,” Patrice McCarron, policy director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, wrote to the committee. Studies are looking at whether ropeless technology can be used, but McCarron doesn’t believe that’s the answer. >click to read< 15:29

Boothbay Harbor lobster boat parade signals solidarity of Maine lobstermen

On a chilly but sunny March afternoon, on the deck of Brady’s Restaurant about a dozen Mainers, some holding beers, watched a parade of lobster boats travel through the opening of the Boothbay Harbor Footbridge and into the inner harbor, right up to Brady’s deck, horns blaring and people cheering. The lobster boats steamed toward Brady’s and in less than a span of 10 minutes, circled around and headed back through the Footbridge. The photos captured on that day show a scene that will never be reprised again. As of mid-March, Maine lobstermen are fighting back by suing the Monterey Bay Aquarium over the “red list” designation. Lots of photos, >click to read< 09:30

Faulkingham Pitches $1,000,000 State Contribution to Lobster Legal Defense Fund

A public hearing will be held Thursday to discuss a bill aimed at providing financial support to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), a group that represents Maine’s lobster industry. The bill, proposed by House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor), would provide the MLA with a one-time contribution of $1,000,000 to offset large expenses the organization has incurred in recent years as it fights against burdensome federal regulations. Faulkingham expressed his concern for the Maine lobster industry, which he says is “under attack” and facing potentially devastating regulations and lawsuits. >click to read< 08:57

Blue-collar lobstermen sue environmental group for defamation: ‘The harm is intentional’

A coalition of lobster businesses and industry groups from Maine filed a federal lawsuit this week, accusing a powerful environmental group that doles out “sustainability” ratings of defamation. The coalition, led by the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), argued that the California-based Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation has made defamatory statements about Maine lobster fishing practices, misleading consumers and commercial lobster buyers about the state’s lobster harvest, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Maine. “This harm is intentional: The Aquarium told businesses and consumers to ‘avoid’ and ‘take a pass’ on purchasing Maine-caught lobster and lobster products on the basis of its false statements,” the lawsuit stated. Video, >click to read< 08:58

Lobstermen unhappy over proposed changes in legal size of catch

Lobstermen facing new fishing restrictions proposed by the multi-state Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) met March 9 with Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) staff to hear details, ask questions and provide public comments. But the majority of the 30 lobstermen gathered in the Ellsworth High School cafeteria said don’t change anything. The meeting came the day after an online meeting was held that drew about 50 people. Winter Harbor lobsterman Herman Faulkingham said that a multi-state commission shouldn’t regulate individual fishermen in Maine. Jim Hanscom, who fishes out of Bar Harbor and is vice chairman of the Zone B Lobster Council, agreed. >click to read< 11:29

A year after record-breaking catch, value of Maine lobster landings are lowest in a decade

Maine lobstermen hauled in the least valuable lobster catch in a decade last year, when a decrease in price per pound and higher operational costs gave them less incentive to get out on the water. The $389 million haul, a 47% drop from 2021’s record-shattering catch,,, The size of the haul, 98 million pounds, was nearly identical to the 10-year low hit in 2020, when lobstermen also scaled back operations, then because of the closure of traditional markets as a result of the pandemic. Kristan Porter, a lobsterman from Cutler and president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, laid the blame for the drop in price per pound squarely on the economy. >click to read< 11:06

Maine lobstermen snipped by inflation as 2022 results fall nearly 50%

Fishers of Maine lobster, one of the most lucrative seafood species in the U.S., had a smaller haul during a year in which the industry battled surging fuel and bait prices, rebukes from key retailers and the looming possibility of new fishing restrictions. Maine lobster has exploded in value in recent years in part due to growing international demand from countries such as China. The industry brought about 98 million pounds of lobster to the docks worth about $389 million in 2022, Maine regulators said Friday. That was more than 11% less than the previous year, in which they harvested more than 110 million pounds of lobster worth more than $740 million. The value of lobsters also fell to a little less than $4 per pound at the docks, the lowest since 2017, a year after setting a record of more than $6.70 in 2021. >click to read< 10:33

Maine lobster industry must accept that ‘big changes are coming’ despite delay in federal rules, commissioner says

“The work now is critical,” DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher told the Lobster Advisory Council Wednesday. “The buy-in is critical. The data we’re going to be collecting over the next four years is critical. We can’t have infighting. We have to accept big changes are coming. ”Those changes could include additional regulations to make ropes weaker, a move toward ropeless lobster traps and additional restrictions on fishing grounds. Between now and then, the industry needs to report its harvest to federal officials, participate in a vessel tracking program and find ways to help monitor where endangered whales are migrating, Keliher said. >click to read< 08:49

Scientist calls 6-year delay in Maine lobster rules ‘mind-boggling’

Scientists dedicated to saving North Atlantic right whales from extinction say they are optimistic they can work with the fishing industry to save the species. But they were blindsided last month when Maine’s congressional delegation put language in the federal budget to delay for six years regulations that are designed to protect the whales. Amy Knowlton, a senior scientist at the Boston-based New England Aquarium, said the impact of a six-year delay in regulations could be “dramatic.” “It’s mind-boggling that this would be allowed to happen,” she said. But the Maine lobster industry has fought hard against new regulations designed to protect the whales, saying lobstermen aren’t to blame for the whales’ continued decline. Backed by Gov. Janet Mills and the state’s congressional delegation, the industry won a major victory with the six-year delay. >click to read< 15:20

Maine lobstermen: The other endangered species?

When President Biden signs the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill into law, Maine’s lobster industry will take a six-year step back from the brink thanks to the efforts of Maine’s congressional delegation which secured a last-minute addition that put further restrictions to protect endangered right whales on hold. “The pause doesn’t mean this is over,” said Boothbay’s Troy Plummer, member of Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) board of directors and lobster boat operator for nine years. “Everything is status quo until 2028, but we’ll have to do our homework,” said Boothbay Harbor’s Clive Farrin, lobsterman for more than 20 years and past president of Downeast Lobstermen’s Association.  >click to read< 10:10

Zero means zero. ‘We’ve been innocent:’ Federal spending bill could provide lifeline for Maine lobstermen

Tuesday, Maine’s congressional delegation moved to block plans for even stricter federal regulations on Maine lobstermen designed to protect the right whale. If approved, the measure would give the U.S. lobster fishery six years before any further action is taken to prevent fishing gear from entangling whales. Lobstermen say there’s no need for new regulations on them, claiming there’s no evidence whales are getting snared in their gear, but environmentalists say this puts right whales on a path to extinction. “Zero means zero. I mean, we’ve had zero entanglements in the last 20 years,” Knight said. “There’s never been a death attributed to Maine lobster gear. We’ve been innocent right along.” Video, photos, >click to read< 09:20

Maine lobstermen protest Whole Foods after product ban

Lobstermen and women protested Whole Foods in Portland on Monday, after they decided to stop selling Maine lobster. “It’s unfair, it’s unjust and the collateral damage is when others follow the lead that is not found in science and is based on fear,” Rep. Jim Thorne (R-Carmel) said. This is all stemming from the federal government’s stance on Maine lobstermen being a root cause in the endangerment of the Atlantic right whale. “Maine lobster industry is the gold standard of sustainability, and we don’t harm whales,” Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor) said. Photos, Video, >click to read< 10:07

Maine lobstermen warn Biden Administration is trying to put them out of business with harsh eco rules

Industry groups and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers from Maine are sounding the alarm that a pending federal environmental regulation would crush the state’s vaunted lobster industry, The proponents of Maine’s nearly $1 billion lobster industry have argued that federal rules aimed at protecting the endangered right whale species from fishing equipment in federally managed waters are unfairly attacking blue-collar lobstermen who rely on the resource to make a living. They have warned that the regulation threatens the livelihood of thousands of Maine lobstermen and individuals employed in supporting industries. Video, Photos, >click to read< 14:00

‘We’re the easiest target’: Maine lobstermen snap over regulations row

When French President Emmanuel Macron was treated to butter-poached Maine lobster at President Joe Biden’s first state dinner, the gesture was hailed 500 miles to the north. It was seen as a gesture of solidarity with an industry that is reeling from the latest in a series of blows in recent years. Having survived the pandemic and a trade war with the Chinese during the Trump years, Maine’s 10,000 lobstermen hoped brighter times were ahead. But in mid-November, the Marine Stewardship Council, an independent sustainability policeman, stepped in, triggering a clash between lobstermen, environmentalists, and the upmarket Jeff Bezos-owned Whole Foods grocery chain. >click to read< 07:34

Biden’s lavish lobster dinner doesn’t change his hostility to seafood industry

Bob Vanasse, executive director of Saving Seafood, commended Golden for calling out Biden on the issue and said that his organization has had trouble meeting with the current administration. Vanasse said that it’s not just lobster, but other seafood industries like tuna and swordfish, are having issues meeting with the White House. “I applaud the congressman for calling out the administration’s hypocrisy when it comes to our domestic fisheries and their policies,” “This is not the first time that something like this has happened, but it is good to see, and particularly a Democrat pointing it out because this administration has frankly not been friendly or helpful to our domestic fishing industry,” >click to read< 20:02

Dem lawmaker criticizes Biden for ritzy White House State Dinner serving ‘200 Maine lobsters’

A Democratic lawmaker is pushing back on President Biden’s pompous White House celebration, where 200 live lobsters will be served for guests Thursday during a State Dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron. The night before the dinner, where guests are expected to enjoy lobster and caviar, Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, took to Twitter to urge Biden to meet with the lobstermen his administration is “currently regulating out of business.” >click to read< 07:53

Judge rules two-year extension before lobster industry regulation changes

A Thursday afternoon opinion was confirmed with bipartisan agreement between environmental groups and Maine lobstermen intervenors to allow the federal government to come up with new regulations to reduce right whale entanglements. Judge James Boasberg of D.C. ruled in favor of the two-year extension as new rules from National Marine Fisheries Service were set to be released this fall. Video, >click to read< 20:43

Letter: Right whale entanglements – the undocumented and unknown statistics

Although there hasn’t been a documented right whale in Maine lobstermen’s gear in recent years, most entanglements are undocumented and the gear’s origin is usually unknown. (For brevity, “whales” is in reference to right whales.) Canadian snow crab gear is a major threat, and the risk of vessel strikes is high, but that doesn’t absolve the lobster fishery. We typically don’t know how, when or where whales die, but we do know that the lobster fishery likely plays a critical role. Politicians and lobstermen repeatedly claim that “no right whale has gotten entangled in a Maine lobstermen’s gear for 18 years and there are no recorded cases of the gear leading to the death of a right whale.” This is very misleading. The whole letter is misleading. >click to read< 12:43

Maine lobstermen hire Bush-era official in challenge to whale laws

Maine lobster fishermen have hired a former high-ranking U.S. Department of Justice official to represent them in their case against new laws intended to protect whales. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is appealing its case against the new rules to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The group said Tuesday it has hired Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general from 2004 to 2008, to represent it in the case. The solicitor general supervises all Supreme Court litigation for the U.S., and Clement has argued dozens of cases in front of the high court. That’s where the lobstermen’s case could ultimately be headed, he said Tuesday. >click to read< 12:39

Press Release – Maine Lobstermen’s Association Hires Former U.S. Solicitor General: Files for Expediated Appeal to Preserve & Protect States Economy. >click to read<