Vol. 14, No. 8 - August 2009 News & Comment for and by the Fishermen of Maine      SUBSCRIBE NOW!!
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Lobster Prices Try Industry
by Mike Crowe

The Maine lobster industry is facing another season of low prices and low demand. Fuel prices are not at the historic high they were last year, but the long run of low prices has been wearing down lobstermen.

Stress from the extended down turn and the lack of any concrete change on the horizon reached the flash point on the island of Matinicus. A scuffle among lobstermen on a wharf there led to one of them being shot. The wounded man, Chris Young, 41, was flown to Knox County Airport, where he was taken by a Life Fight helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center. He was shot in the neck and is recovering from his wounds.

Managing territory, determining who fishes where, is how lobstermen have always managed the local lobster resource among themselves, but few would deny there has been heightened stress over holding on to territory in recent years.

However, attorney and Matinicus sternman Nat Hussey said that it was not the fishing that caused the shooting incident at Matinicus. He said fishemen have pointed out that it was the result of the personalities involved, and not the established process for managing territory that led to the shooting.


Keith Jordan’s Bailey & Bella, 44' , in the lead over Fred Backman’s Prometheus, 43' at Moosebec, on July 4th. Many of the races have had fewer boats racing this season. Low boat prices are likely as much at play as the weather. ©Photo by Sam Murfitt

Historic Castine
Part 2. The Revolution and Beyond
by Tom Seymour

With increasing friction between Great Britain and her American colonies, Tories, those loyal to the Crown, took up residence on the Castine peninsula. The place offered security, especially since many thought that lands east of the Penobscot River might soon become the British territory of “New Ireland.”

As it was, patriots and Tories lived side-by-side, even after the United States declared their independence from Mother England. Certainly, much mistrust and tension prevailed between the two groups. And so it was, in June of 1779, when a British fleet commanded by the much-feared, Henry Mowat, sailed into view and anchored off of Dice’s Head. Mowat had earned himself fear and loathing when he burned Falmouth (now Portland) in 1775.

The British fired their guns, beckoning pilots to come out and guide them in. None came. The British finally launched boats in which about 20 of their officers disembarked. That group returned to their ships for the night. Then, on June 16, British General Francis McLean landed 700 Highland troops at the foot of the hill by the present-day Town Landing.


Castine center, July 2009. Along with many buildings from the 1700's and 1800's Castine is scatterd with markers and artifacts from the British occupation. Great Elm trees like the one on the right, once lined the streets of most cities and towns in the northeast. They are now nearly extinct, except in Castine. Photo by Tom Seymour