Maine’s lobstermen have lived with uncertainty for years with unsettled weather, the ups and down in the harvest, supply and demand concerns, crowded fishing space, the increasing cost of fuel, bait, and boat maintenance, plus the COVID-19 pandemic.
And recently, lobster fishermen find themselves dealing with other challenges including new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regulations closing 1,000 square miles of federal, offshore fishing bottom four months each year to protect the endangered Right whale.
Today, there are some 4,500 licensed Maine lobstermen who tend up to 800 traps each — about three million total — in the coastal and offshore waters off the state’s rocky coast. All of Maine’s non-commercial fishing license holders are, by law, from Maine families. Most started lobstering from small skiffs when they were kids and many are from multi-generational fishing families.