His aunt works for a large lobster processor on the same island, which ships lobster internationally. Much of the lobster caught in Canadian waters is shipped to far away places like Europe and Asia. Due to the time of year lobster is caught in Canada, it provides lobster with a hard shell that is ideal for the long journey.
Generations of lobster fishermen in Canada are quite common, as lobster is the lifeblood for many communities along the eastern seaboard. The coast is dotted with small communities just like the one found on Deer Island. With approximately 600 residents, Deer Island is linked to the mainland by ferry, the only way on or off the island for those not lucky enough to own a lobster boat.
Most lobster fishermen come from families of fishers, but not our lobster fisherman Kurt. He decided to fish lobster at an early age and today hauls impressive amounts from a scenic mid Cape Cod location. Kurt ties up near the Chatham Municipal Fish Pier, a virtual fish lover’s haven where local and tourists alike watch day boats unload their catch of fish and lobster.
Aptly named Time Bandit, Kurt’s lobster boat helps to haul a mix of wood and metal traps (a rarity in Massachusetts). Due to the sandy bottom vs. a rockier coast outside the cape, he believes the wooden traps perform better in the more shallow waters. During the colder winter months, Kurt actually makes his own wooden traps in preparation for the busy fishing season.
Lori catches out of the Malpeque area that is also world famous for oysters. The first one in her family to be a lobster fisher, she decided to strike out on her own after working three years on her husband’s boat. She now captains her own boat successfully. During our visit with Lori and her husband on the island, he stated quite honestly “she does it better than me.”
Her boat’s name Southern Lady is fitting for this PEI native, who grew up on an island farm. This soft-spoken female lobster fisher works incredibly hard, but always with a smile. When not catching lobster, she is working getting ready for the next season.
Having worked on lobster boats since he was 13, Jarrett has spent almost thirty years in the business. Like lobster fishermen along the Atlantic coast, Jarrett has a ton of heart for the business and life. His boat Cynthia Lee is named after his wife.
As a second-generation fisherman in Massachusetts, Jarrett plays an active role in the state’s ongoing lobster legislation. He keeps his boat in New Bedford Harbor, which remains the largest fishing port in the United States. New Bedford boasts fish landings values at approximately $369 million (of which lobster plays a part).
Fishing out of the largest lobster port in Maine, John hauls approximately 800 traps in scenic Stonington. He has made lobster his life’s business and is situated at the epi-center of Maine’s lobsterland. Recent reports show that 149 million pounds of American lobster were caught in the USA last year, with more than 127 million pounds landed in Maine. This whopping lobster catch number makes up 85% percent of the nations harvest.
Some could say John was born to be a lobster fishermen, with location and family tradition on his side. He and his father are long standing members of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, an organization with 1200 lobster fishermen members strong. John is now a board member of the organization committed to open communications for the good of the industry. As American lobster remains the largest fishery in Maine, there is a long list of challenges and opportunities.
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