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Friday, July 13, 2012

Lobsters and no card today

I don't have a card to post today because it was a busy day. At our summer gift shop, my mother and I frequently get a lot of visitors. We have a picnic table and a bunch of lawn chairs, and it's right on the ocean, so it's a comfortable gathering place. This week, we have had more visitors than usual, and today it was all day long.

Our island is the place where the most lobsters are landed of any place. We are also right up at the top for any kind of seafood landings. For the last few years, lobsters have been at historically low prices, and the lobstermen have been having a hard time. Lobsters have been cheaper than hot dogs here every summer for the last three or four years. This week, the price dropped to between $1.25 to $1.50 per pound, and was expected to drop to $1.00 or lower. The fishermen's costs have gone up a lot. Not only have boat and insurance prices risen, but also the cost of bouys, traps, rope, bait, fuel, oil, and all the things you need to keep your boat and gear repaired.

Recently, the government made all the fishermen get rid of floating rope and switch to very dangerous to the fishermen sinking rope at great expense to the lobstermen because they said the floating rope was dangerous to right whales. There are no right whales here where they fish, and the sinking rope kills lobstermen because it gets "rocked down" and when it does, it hauls the lobsterman overboard. The floating rope was used at the bottom, with sinking rope used higher up. This costed the fishermen thousands of dollars at a time when lobsters are so cheap

In Maine, we had processing plants all over the state, including here on the island, until a bunch of "highly intelligent" trust fund kids moved in from out of state and started electing each other into the state capitol. The processing plants worked very well, employing thousands of people, and the factories complimented each other. There used to be a lot of bait from the sardine factories, and the lobster and other factories processed the day's catch directly from the fishermen.

The "highly intelligent" trust fund kids decided that it would be better to base Maine's economy on tourism, and closed down the factories due to their unfounded environmental concerns. They did the same thing to every other industry in Maine, including the paper mills. We only have a few of those left too. Now 85% of the lobsters are trucked to the factories in Canada where that country can make all the money, then sent back here. Only 15% are sold as live lobsters to be boiled and picked out.

This week, the lobstermen decided they couldn't afford to go out because they were losing money every time they went out. Some parts of the coast stopped lobstering last week. Anyway, the lobstermen have been sitting around the picnic table a lot this week, and today there were people there all day.

It's pretty weird to have it so quiet here. It's sort of like a ghost town on the wharves. Usually there are boats coming and going all day long, fishermen on the wharves yelling to each other and trucks with loads of traps going by. Now, there are just a few fishermen talking quietly to each other and trying to figure out what to do.

I wonder who is making all the money on those $20.00 lobster rolls in Bar Harbor? It certainly isn't the fishermen.

P.S. Watch out America, some of those "highly intelligent" trust fund kids are now In Washington!

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