Lobster fishing in the Gulf of Maine

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Rockland, Maine, September 2008. At the age of 25, Jo is already a lobster fisher veteran.The activity has become less attractive in this time of economic crisis. Lobster has lost half its value in one year. Nevertheless, Jo continues to fish at a frantic pace. He always starts his boat half an hour before the rising sun accordingly to the lobster fishery rules and regulations. In the far US northeastern state of Maine, since 1850 lobster fishery is the pride of its inhabitants. Is is a family tradition limited to the members of the clan. The sole activity contribute to more than 80% of the national production. This has not always been like that. Until the early 19th century, lobster was seen a vulgar contribute and mainly used as fertilizer by farmers. Only prisoners and servants ate it.

Jo is the owner of his small motorboat. We leave the harbor at 5:30 in the morning for a sea tour. Mechanically, Jo repeats the same gestures, gestures he has already performed thousands of times since this day, when he was 15 years old, he decided to become a fisherman lobster. He gets a rotten head of a fish, put it on a pike and then places it in a lobster-pot. Connected by a cable to the boat, the lobster-pot is submerged at a distance of several tens of meters. Attracted by the smell of the fish, the lobster gets inside the lobster-pot. The hatch closes up. Jo waits a few minutes and then gently takes back the pot. He checks his catch. Two lobsters and a crabs have been trapped. Jo hold the first lobster in his hand, a black pregnant lobster female. Rules and regulations in Maine prohibits the fishing of egg-bearing females. Jo throws back into the sea the crustacean. He grabs the second lobster. Its shell has not yet reached 3-1/4 inches long. He will also live. The crab passes the test. It is thrown into a large box filled with water. Over the hours, the box is populated with dozens of lobsters. The boat is rocking up. Surprisingly, Jo says he almost never eats lobster. Back to Rockland. Dock workers are busy. Jo sells his booty to a wholesaler. Lobsters are weighed one by one. Crustaceans are stored alive in big plastic immersed under water near the docks. Lobsters will be fed with sardine flour for several days until they reach a sufficient weight. Stored in containers, the flour attracts thousands of gulls toward the docks. Jo goes back home enjoying this beautiful late afternoon sun, away from the pervading and sickening smell of the lobster.

A story created in September 2008.