November 23, 2017
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Comments for: Maine lobstermen reeling from low prices, seeking cooperation from dealers

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  • Anonymous

    Boo Hoo. No new truck this year. No trip to the Bahamas. 

    • Anonymous

      agreed

    • Anonymous

      And just exactly what is wrong with a new truck and/or a vacation to the Bahamas?  You don’t have to buy lobster, so why the sarcasm?  They work hard, let ’em enjoy the benefits from that.  Why not post what you do for work, how much you get paid and how you spend your money so we can pick it apart?

      •  I love how people are coming to the side of the hard working lobstermen/women. Funny though that the truckers have been working just as hard and get little support from the public. They have been running at or below costs for years and everything we have we got because of trucks. Fuel goes up, the lobstermen/women complain and it’s all “Aw, lets do our part to support them” because we can choose to buy lobster or not. The truckers try to raise rates to buy fuel and because they bring us the things we need to live everyday, they are hated. If everyone in the lobster industry quit today, their would be a ripple effect, but if every trucker quit today, we would all be starving in a couple weeks, making it more like a tsunami than a ripple.

        • Anonymous

          Excellent points, Dane.  How true your words are!  In fact, most lobsters get transported by trucks.  I saw on the news the other night that it costs over $1,000 just to fill up the tanks on a truck–over $5,000 a week.  They work long hours for their money.  Plus, away from home a lot.  We owe a lot to the truckers. 

  • Old Bear

    Stop selling them to the dealers for a month or two and see what the tourist think when they can’t get any. Do you claim all the lobster’s you sell?? Do you think the coast of maine is tax free. Yow always riding around in brand new trucks and cars and when lobster prices where through in roof did you feel sorry for us buying them??

    • Anonymous

      Why is getting a new truck even an issue? I say more power to anybody who can make it financially in Maine (I couldn’t). 

  • Anonymous

    This is the free market at work.  Classic supply and demand.

    • Anonymous

       Let’s see. limited number of licenses, limited number of traps per license, long apprenticeship.     That sound like classic supply and demand?

      • Anonymous

        No.  You defined the supply well, but left out demand.  If you supply X, but consumers only want Y, prices have to go down.

        • Anonymous

          Your point was “classic supply and demand” which it isn’t.

          _____

          • Anonymous

            Yeah.  It was and is and you are just disagreeing to be disagreeable. 

          • Anonymous

            If you have restrictions on the supply you can’t say it’s classic supply and demand. simple.

            _____

          • Anonymous

            Classic supply and demand means you don’t have the government interfering in either side of the equation.
            If you have the state controlling licenses, number of traps, size of lobsters, who can sell them and whatever else, then it isn’t classic supply and demand. that’s not opinion it’s the facts.

            _____

          • Anonymous

            Well it the prices are down so much you could argue that there is not enough restrictions. The tragedy of the commons

  • Anonymous

    The fishermen get up at 3 AM, all kinds of weather, risk their lives to make a living.  Sometimes a good living, sometimes not.  Why is it that a lot of posters on this site have something against making a profit??  Is it jealousy and envy, or what?  Think about your job at $10- $15 per hour.  Imagine getting a call from your boss and he/she says business is bad and your pay will be $3.00 per hour.  Obviously that’s less than half of minimum wage, but just imagine taking a 66% cut, whatever your wage.  The fishermen still have to buy bait and fuel, pay a sternman, insurance, etc. etc.  Perhaps a little empathy might be in order.  Remember, these fishermen buy goods in their towns and villages, probably contribute to the economy so the rest of us can also have jobs.

    • Anonymous

      Well said!!  Those who are posting negative comments have no idea what they are talking about, and a day in a lobster boat would leave them green and hanging over the side wishing for dry land!

    • Anonymous

      Then the answer is either decrease supply or increase demand!  It really is that simple.  If there are more lobsters on the market than consumers are willing to buy the price will go down.  How do you propose to change that?

      • Anonymous

         My point wasn’t supply and demand–because you are correct.  Lobster prices fluctuate with supply and demand.  My point was that the first posters about this BDN story didn’t think lobstermen should earn good wages and spend it the way they want to.  Because of supply and demand, if they choose not to fish for a few days, they should be free to do that without ridicule from people who don’t understand the market.

        • Anonymous

          Exactly. If they need to cover expenses to go out, then take a break and wait for the demand to rise. It is simple economics. Don’t work for free or low wages, wait for demand to rise. People who work for a set amount per hour or a salary are free from this issue. Sadly, those that depend on market value have to decide to keep going or take a break. So guys and gals, take a break and help demand rise, then cash in. Strategy pure and simple. If anyone damns you for that , to heck with them.

    • Anonymous

      Please remember these sentiments the next time nurses, state workers, teachers, or anyone else is having a wage or contract dispute. Refrain from claiming that they don’t work very hard and are overpaid. Remember, these people buy goods in their towns and villages, including lobsters which contributes to the ability of fishermen to earn a living.

      • Anonymous

        No argument at all.  You are right–isn’t it true that generally speaking, most people work hard and probably aren’t paid their true worth?  You hit the nail right on the head–it is the ‘total’ economy that is affected.  If the fishermen get low pay, they can’t buy as many good and services; the people who provide goods and services have less income and around and around it goes.  When something like this happens (low lobster prices), many many people are affected, not just the fishermen. 

      • Anonymous

        I am in support of these lobstermen and women but
        I don’t agree with your analogy about having the same
        sentiments for all the categories you listed. These lobstermen
        are in business for themself, they probably invested THEIR
        money and abilities for engaging in free enterprise. They
        aren’t subsidized by us taxpayers to obtain wages and benefits.
        Besides, I don’t really believe anyone is against nominal wage
        increases, even as a taxpayer I can buy that. But when contracts
        are negotiated with politicians who negotiate for a vote instead
        of the taxpayer’s best interest, there is no negotiation and when
        we pay benefits to people that these lobstermen and people in the
        private sector never see, then no….I won’t have the same sentiments.

      • Anonymous

        Lobstermen turn something that was nothing into millions of dollars.Take them out of
        the equation of the economy of ME and it would go bankrupt.

    • Anonymous

      This is not a smart allec question, but is there any way lobstermen can bypass the co-op system and sell direct to retail? The co-ops appear to be controlling the wholesale price as did the blueberry freezers until all the blueberry growers got together and formed a class action lawsuit against the freezers, and won a few years ago. Just sayin.

      • Anonymous

        Good question–many lobster fishermen do sell directly to retail.  The problem they find sometimes is that after the tourist season is over, there is not much of a local retail market and some of the co-ops won’t buy those fishermen’s lobsters. 

        • Anonymous

          I see. It still seems the boat price is fixed by the co-ops all controlling the price and that drives the price down granted consumption may be down. It also seems the foreign market has a lot of potential for processed lobster, which if more meat was used for that market, less of it would be in the tanks waiting for hungry people like me. I don’t mind paying 4.50 a pound, but admittedly it’s a very low price considering I could by lobster in the 80’s for 3 something a pound.

          • Anonymous

            Good point, cmy6.  Occasionally you see fishermen by the side of the road selling for retail.  The co-ops usually don’t complain, but if the local fishermen only did retail, then it would be hard for them to get the co-ops to work with them at other times of year.  The problem right now is that the ‘new shells’ can’t be shipped–to fragile.  This is likely a temporary problem, but it is still difficult to work with.  Processing for foreign markets is a great market.  That plant in Prospect Harbor raised a lot of hopes, but it looks like that fizzled out.

    • Anonymous

      They chose to be lobster men and not go work for someone else.
      Just like clam diggers, worm diggers and many loggers.
      Do this people work hard – well of course they do.
      But by choosing to be self employed you take the good with the bad.

  • Anonymous

    pulpwood prices are the same as they were 30 years ago.where are the news stories about the problems a logger has?

  • We’ll be coming up to Maine this weekend and will do our part to help clear the pipeline.

  • Anonymous

    I hate to say this, but could the government pay the lobstermen not to harvest?  They do it for farmers when prices are too low.

    • Anonymous

      yeah….the government will help…..geez

  • Anonymous

    The State should step in and reduce the number of catches allowed.  There should never be a ‘glut’ in the harvesting of a natural resource. A better term for this problem is ‘over-fishing’.

    • Anonymous

      Lol your answer to EVERYTHING is more LIBERAL GUVMENT!!!

      • Anonymous

        OK – are you somehow suggesting that we should hang back and let this industry run itself into the ground?

        • Anonymous

          Actually, lobstermen are more educated than most people in this state.

          • Anonymous

            Agreed!  Among knowing boats, channels, water depth, fishing regulations, setting traps, pulling traps, they have to have a variety of knowledge. 

      • Anonymous

        Please Read tragedy of the commons. This is a natural resource and left unchecked people will fish it until they all die. There needs to be restrictions because people do not self police. If they did then there would not be this problem. 

  • Anonymous

    I will do my part to help. I’m gonna buy a lot of lobster, cook them up and freeze them.

  • Anonymous

    I like all of the lobstermen I know.  And most of those I hear on the VHF when I’m boating seem decent and true down to earth Mainers.   No doubt it’s a hard stressful way to make a living.  I know Pete McAleney and most of the McAleney family.  Great folks.
     
    Many industries built around a commodity stabilize prices and assist growers by trading ‘futures’. And lobstermen are growers, lets face it.  They feed the lobsters “bait” until they are big enough to sell and then take them to market like a farmer.

  • I just want to say I have just read all these comments and  that I am a Lobsterman of 20 years.  First to grimaldii..Your not educated in this matter, if we get a better price per pound yes we by trucks, we buy gear we buy stuff for our business to run safe and for future return….Um that helps the economy and keeps many Mainers with jobs.  We are very hard working people we risk our live and bodies everyday to harvest our lobsters. If we don’t get at least $3.50 per pound we won’t make ends meet, period. I fully agree with freddiestevens you get a pay cut and see what happens to you.

    • Anonymous

       I’m sick of this “they risk their lives” bull. Truck drivers get up early and risk their lives.  Most lobstermen make over a hundred grand a year. I know sternmen that make fifty.  So stop all the whining about the price, babies.

      • Anonymous

        Please cite your source of income from lobstermen and sternmen.  Just another guess, isn’t it?  Here’s a statistic that IS true–fishermen have the highest mortality rate of all jobs in Maine.  For people like grimaldii, that means more fishermen are killed each year on the job than any other job.
        Any by the way, even if the average was $100,000 and $50,000 why is that bad? In today’s world, that’s not a high income. Especially since health insurance for a family can run $25,000+ a year.

        • Anonymous

          no guess, family members been lobstering for thirty years.

          1 Logging workers
          92.4
          85
          2 Aircraft pilots
          92.4
          109
          3 Fishers and fishing workers
          86.4
          38
          4 Structural iron and steel workers
          47.0
          31
          5 Refuse and recyclable material collectors
          43.2
          35
          6 Farmers and ranchers
          37.5
          307
          7 Roofers
          34.9
          94
          8 Electrical power line installers/repairers
          30.0
          36
          9 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
          27.6
          905
          10 Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
          24.2

          _____

        • Anonymous

          Bureau of Labor Statistics,

          you could at least try to get the facts straight before youy bad mouth someone.

          _____

          • Anonymous

             WRONG AGAIN, GRIMALDII–Can’t you get ANYTHING right?
            Here are the REAL numbers for Maine:

            Number of Fatalities per 100,000 employed

            1. Fishers and Related Fishing Workers 118.4
            2. Logging Workers 92.

            3. Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers 66.9

            4. Structural Iron and Steel Workers 55.6

            5. Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors 43.8

            6. Farmers and Ranchers 41.1

            7. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers 32.7

            8. Drivers/Sales Workers and Truck Drivers 29.1

            9. Miscellaneous Agricultural Workers 23.2

            10. Construction Laborers 22.7

        • I see grimadlii has no response to this @freddiestevens:disqus . You have made some very excellent points on this subject and answered many questions with much knowledge on the lobster industry. Thank you!

        • Anonymous

           Not saying it’s bad. My close relative was grossing $400 grand a few years ago. a highliner for sure but don’t give me that crap.

        • Anonymous

          Freddie, I think when you get right down to it some people just resent it when they think others might have more than they do, even when it’s earned fair and square.

      • Anonymous

        Who peed in your cornflakes…? 

  • I always buy my lobsters from the fishermen I know In my town and offer them store retail price or better,  knowing that still, after all the work they do,   hotdogs are still more expensive than lobsters.

    • Anonymous

      how are hot dogs more expensive than lobsters??

      • Anonymous

        Hot dogs are like 7+ bucks a pound at the deli. 

        • Anonymous

          Darn hot dog co-ops.

        • Those better be some damn fine hot dogs at that prices.  Bean’s red dogs are expensive enough at $3.99.

        • Anonymous

           hot dogs don’t have toxic tomalley. check out the state seafood assumption guidelines.
          Lobster Tomalley: No Consumption.
            http://www.maine.gov/dhs/ehu/fish/

      • Anonymous

        And baloney is more expensive right now than lobsters.  Grimaldii should know all about baloney.  He has a great supply of it, but no demand.

  • Anonymous

    cry cry cry bait is too high fuel is too high price for catch is too low is there anything else to cry about maybe you should come down from your high horse for a while and live like normal people and yes i do commerical fish for a living traveling up and down the coast of maine get over it and go fishing like most people do

    • @sternmangamble:disqus – have you been out in the job market lately? Not much out there. Do you realize that most of the fishermen in my area have college degrees and choose to fish because of family traditions and to be away from the corporate BS? There is nothing like being out on the water steaming for that first buoy and watching the sun come up over the water. You truely feel free. It is exhilirating!

  • Anonymous

    I got very sick from a bad lobster in the 3rd grade and could never eat them since, But this reeling. Cant BDN use something else for a word to use. Seems averyone in Augusta and Washigton is Reeling against something or somebody.

  • Anonymous

    Hannford Brothers did’nt lower thiers there still high almost $10.00 a lb   Northern Maine

  • Anonymous

    Everyone is working harder for less these days. We can all certainly empathize with the bug pickers.

  • Anonymous

    I never understood how the lobstermen made any money, with the cost of boats, fuel, bait, trucks, and help. Seriously, I wonder how the clammers and wormers are doing this year? When I was a kid, the lobstermen, clammers, wormers, deep sea fishermen, dairy farmers, potato and blueberry harvesters, the broiler industy, the papermills, wood cutters, shoe and wool industry all were strong, the country was strong, then we as a people began to buy cars and trucks made in Japan, instead of supporting our own industry, many other things were bought that was not made in US, we did not support our local industry, protect our local industry, we let Canada take our last sardine factory, a damn travesty. We must find a way to put more money in local pockets, so local products can be bought, people just do not have free money anymore. If you buy a car or truck, make sure it was built here, in the USA, this is the first step to heat the economy back up. We the people must mend this economy.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like the lobstermen seem to think violating antitrust practices and price fixing is the answer. Sorry boys, maybe you’ll need to cut back on the Bud and skip the new snowmobiles this year. It’s supply and demand – learn about it. Maybe a new government program will help… .

    • That was a very rude comment @publiusminimus12:disqus . Have you ever gone lobstering as a profession in your life? Do you even know how hard these men and woman work to earn that money and what kind of money they have to spend on their buoys and licenses, tags, etc.? It’s not about how much Bud they consume or the new snowmobile they buy! Until you have walked one day in their shoes, then keep your ignorance to yourself.

      • Anonymous

        Joy, again, I think some people just resent it when they feel others may be doing well financially in Maine. Unfortunate, but I’ll stand by the assertion. They don’t care how hard the person may have worked to get it.

        • Anonymous

          PS…I never realized drinking Bud or buying a sled was a bad thing…?

    • Anonymous

      It;s not just boys-It’s men with families-children, homes, banks to pay. It isn’t necessarily year round so whatever you make has to last a very long time-I am personally affected by this and it will make me hold back on buying anything which does affect my fellow business people. I am already thinking about how in …..are we going to make it through next winter and it is only July.
      You must be very young or very sheltered no matter which you have completely offended this hard working mainer.

  • Anonymous

    Coming from a long family of seasoned lobstermen, I can say that there will always be bad years in this industry.  There will be years where there is no price, years where law changes cost you a fortune just to keep yourself in business, and then there will be years where there just simply aren’t the significant amount of lobsters.  The true lobstermen will survive this because they have been smart.  They keep their expenses (boats, cars, trucks, toys, houses, vacations, etc.) low enough so they can survive these years.    As my dad always says “you’ll always be able to put food on the table in this business, but you may not be able to live high on the hog every year.”

      

  • Anonymous

    No one ever feels bad for the woodcutters and clamdiggers, etc. when they aren’t making any money.  No one says “let’s have a marketing campaign” for firewood or tree length logs to try to boost the logging industry or “invite your friends to a clambake this weekend” to help out your fellow diggers.  But the very second lobster drops by five cents, everyone goes crazy and jumps on the band wagon- buy more lobster, help out the lobster industry.  Hello people, it’s not the only industry around, just the only one that has men who cry every time their price drops and they can’t pocket megabucks from their hauls.  As far as danger, I think logging is right up there in the top for dangerous jobs, but no one ever thinks about them, and what about road crews, flaggers, etc.  They are all dangerous positions, especially with the general population out of control texting and driving, and doing who knows what else while under the wheel. 

  • Anonymous

    Mickey D’s is hiring…..

  • Anonymous

    Every year there is some kind of made up problem by Lobster men. I never saw a worse group of Cry Babies in my life. Always whining about something. No one is forcing you people to fish Lobster. Enough already. Stop Crying already. You can’t handle it, then sell your Lobster Boat and traps. Go flip some hamburgers for a living and see how real people try to exist. You never hear from burger flippers how life is so hard and always crying. At least you can eat your lobsters, burger flippers would be fired for eating the restaurant owners burgers.

    • Anonymous

      Still mad about the lobsterman who stoled your wife i see.

  • I am from Corinth, outside of Bangor… where is a good place to buy lobster??

  • Anonymous

    All I know is, the prices for lobster in restaurants never seem to go down when wholesale prices are low. It doesn’t work like oil/gas prices does it?

  • Anonymous

    I’d buy off a boat and pay more to the lobsterman just don’t know how about doing that.  Cut our the middle guy.

  • Anonymous

    As I read comments, I also notice our tendency to go after each other. I wonder if that solves anything? As long as the Maine lobster business is dependent on Canadian processors, it will also be at their mercy. If Maine had anything like an adequate lobster processing industry, the current crisis would not exist. Those in Maine who did not think they had a stake in the success of lobster processing in Prospect Harbor should think again. It is in the long term Canadian interest to control lobstering in Maine and, if necessary or when necessary, put it out of business. But this is not in Maine’s interest. Maine leadership–public and private–should be addressing this issue but there has been a consistent lack of leadership at all levels, perhaps because the status quo has served some interests in Maine as well–some lobster dealers, for example, who have worked comfortably with Canadian processors and have passed depressed prices onto lobstermen. But the status quo is NOT in the interests of Hancock or Washington County or of Maine people. What we are witnessing is the future–sooner or later–unless the status quo changes.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you. You’re one of only a couple here to get it.

  • Anonymous

    Well McLaughlin’s is selling $9.00+ a pound for hard shells……guess they haven’t heard of the low prices……..buy off the docks kids……direct from the bug fishermen themselves and cut out the $$middleman$$.

  • Anonymous

    Figure out how many hours they work not just hauling gear,but working on gear in the winter
    with no pay and I would say not too many people would do it.

  • @freddiestevens:disqus – You have quite the patience! I am amazed that you kept your cool and didn’t let @grimaldii:disqus get to you. You made excellent points and facts not only in response to his posts, but to inform everyone of the facts. Not everyone understands the fishing industry with all of the rules and regualtions that are set upon it.

  • Anonymous

    Wow Sir Issac Newton came up with the defination quite some time ago. I personally called MLA weeks ago and described this problem that I saw unfolding, as well as alerting the Comissioner. It all fell on deaf ears or no action could be taken because of the legalities involved. I also bristle at the statement that dealers are behind this. As the president of the MLA how could you be so blind to what was happening? Mister Cousins are you a first year fisherman or just very slow? Perhaps you should try another line of business to supplement your income I think that selling Christmas trees in October sounds about right

  • Time to put the price down a little lower on your board fella.  You might have 13 or 14 dollars invested to the boats in those 5 lobsters so that means you are still pocketing 10 bucks!  Thats $2 per lobster…same thing we are making and we are the ones beating up our equipment to get them to you!  How about putting the price down on BOTH ends of the spectrum for once not just  to the fishermen.  I understand that the supply is way high but if it wasnt we would still be having this same discussion.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone here that says anything about making so much money and to stop crying has no idea what work is actually put into lobstering. Guess people don’t realize how much work is done for no compensation for the captain and his helper(s). Also the fact that 90% of fishermen only make money for a few months and it isn’t close to what people claim here. People like @grimaldii:disqus  are out to lunch.

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