Do you like the succulent taste of buttery lobster? Have you ever wondered how it gets to your plate? It's not as simple as going to Red Lobster and ordering a lobster roll.
Do you like the succulent taste of buttery lobster? Have you ever wondered how it gets to your plate? It's not as simple as going to Red Lobster and ordering a lobster roll. Gerry Cushman is a third generation lobsterman who lives on the rocky coast of Port Clyde, Maine. He's been a lobsterman his whole life; his grandfather started the family tradition of lobstering and it is a way of life in many Maine coastal communities.
"It's my way of making a living for my family, but it's a lot of time away from home…I usually get up between 3:30 and 4:00 a.m. and some days I don't get home until 5:00 or 6:00, in the fog maybe 7:00 or 8:00 at night." Gerry states through thick coastal accent.
On an everyday basis, Gerry drives to the docks, gets on his boat, and starts a long day of work. He has a vast network of buoys attached to traps all waiting to be checked and dropped back into the ocean. To collect the lobster, Gerry has to hook the buoy onto a mechanism that reels the trap up to the boat. The trap is about three feet long and is designed so that the lobster comes in for the bait of cut fish, and can't get out. Collecting the lobster is long and hard work. You have to measure them to see that they are the legal size, and if they aren't or they have eggs he has to toss them back into the ocean. If it is "a keeper", he puts a rubber band around the lobster's claws so that it does not pinch anyone or hurt the other lobsters in the tank. After he collects all of his traps, he sells the lobsters by the pound to the Port Clyde Fisherman's Co-Op. "The co-op is owned by a bunch of fisherman and we sell our product to a processor to cut out the middleman and try to bring more money back to the fisherman. It was originated by my grandfather and father, and now that they're deceased it's left down to me. We'll leave it for the future generation so they always have a place to work on the waterfront." After the live lobsters are sent to the processor, they are sent all over the world to seafood markets and restaurants for many people to enjoy.
The next time you have a lobster dinner, think about the work it took to get that crustacean to your plate!