Lobstermen’s complaint: small landings, low price

ELLSWORTH — Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has spent a lot of time on the road recently.

Early this week he was in Moncton, New Brunswick, at a meeting with Canadian fisheries authorities, scientists, processors and fishermen to discuss ways the two nations can better coordinate their respective lobster industries.

Last week, Keliher was in Ellsworth, where he met with more than 80 fishermen, all of them concerned about the low price they were getting for the lobsters they catch.

Although landings are nowhere near last year’s glut level, the boat price hovered around $2.40 per pound and many of the fishermen at the meeting believed they knew why.

“It’s price fixing,” said one woman who said she had been lobstering for more than 20 years. “There’s not 5 cents difference to lobstermen between Jonesport and Casco Bay.”

Another lobsterman, who fishes in Frenchman Bay, said the manager of the cooperative that buys his lobsters “calls us on Monday and tells us the price is going down on Wednesday. How does he know that? There’s price fixing going on.”

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Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]