Vol. 6, No. 1  January 2001    News & Comment for and by the Fishermen of Maine          SUBSCRIBE NOW!!
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Too Little
by Paul Molyneaux

In Maine and elsewhere, fishing communities have seen their social fabric stressed to the breaking point over the last twenty years largely the result of mismanagement, many claim. This past fall, after two decades of federal regulations, the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) held a series of ten informal hearings aimed at assessing social impact of those regulations on fishing communities.
From Riverhead, New York to Ellsworth, Maine, fishermen and their families told NEFMC representatives of the hardships regulations have caused them. Common themes included the horror of discarding throwing marketable fish over the side dead because of regulatory trip limits; losing the next generation of fishermen because of the instability of the industry, and inability to keep crew due to limited fishing time.
Regional issues varied. South of Cape Cod, fishermen felt the impact of limited days at sea.

North of the Cape communities were more severely impacted by regulatory closures, and in downeast Maine, where the groundfishing industry has dwindled to a few boats, fishermen expressed concern about the possibility of losing their permits.
At the last hearing, held in Ellsworth, Maine, on December 7, downeast Maine fishermen, vented their frustration.
"Why are you coming to us now?" Deer Isle lobsterman, Leroy Bridges asked Paul

Howard, executive director of the NEFMC. "Why wasn't this looked at when you were annihilating these communities?"
"These are new requirements," said Howard, claiming that the council had previously been focused on stock rebuilding.
New Bedford fishermen, Rodney Avila, had his own view of the hearings. "They're covering themselves," he said. "They're late with this but they'll say they were busy with other things."     continue


Sharp Boats
by Mike Crowe

In the 1840s Maine was the country's largest producer of ships. The state's lumber resources, skilled labor force and history of access by the sea made this nearly inevitable. Beginning with the Virginia built by the colonists at Popham in 1607 to make their return trip to England, building ships has been a part of life here.
By the mid-1800s larger and larger cargo ships were being built. Two developments in the 1840s led to changes in that trend. San Francisco at the time was a sleepy Mexican trading station. In the year before the spring of 1848 only two ships had come in from Atlantic ports. In the spring of 1848 gold was discovered in California, and things would change fast. In 1849 a huge migration took place that transformed San Francisco into one of the busiest seaports in the world. Entering the Golden Gate were 775 vessels from East Coast ports. That year alone 67 ships left Maine ports with "forty-niners" headed for the gold fields.     continue

The Red Jacket. On its first voyage it set a speed record that remains unbroken today for sailing ships. Built in 1853 at Rockland by Deacon George Thomas, the 250-foot, 2306-ton Red Jacket was Maine's most renowned clipper ship.

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