The Lives of Lobstermen & Women

For the past 18 months, I have had the wonderful pleasure and experience in serving as a business planning coach/consultant to 125 lobstermen and women and a few Maine blueberry farmers. This happened under the auspices of a USDA program. I learned a lot from each and everyone of them. My clients ranged in age from 16 years old to 80+.

The 16 year old I worked with summarized his personal situation this way:

“Although there are not many people that live in my community living here has made me the person that I am today. It’s nothing like living in the city. The community is made up of hard working individuals who have great determination and drive to be successful.

Being around these people has made me want to become successful and be a hard working man and make something out of my life. I have many people who motivate me including my father who has always taught me since I was a kid that if you work hard everyday you will be able to accomplish your goals and you will be successful. He is the reason I have been able to accomplish what I have in lobstering at such a young age. I have learned everything I know about the fishing industry from my father and I enjoy catching lobsters just as much as he does.”


One of my 80+ year old lobstermen was a  gentleman who lives on a small island off the coast of Portland Maine – population 363. Here’s a synopsis of his plan in his own words.

Plan Summary – Sixty years ago I could have written a super business plan. Today my plan is simple – each year I’ll haul fewer traps and try to catch more lobsters per trap.

Goals- My goal at first was to make money to care for my growing family. A score or so years later I strived to be the best lobsterman ever. After many years as a ‘high liner’ (i.e.the highest average catch rate per trap) I probably came close. Maybe I even made it. Now at 84 years what I hope I’ve accomplished is the respect of the other fishermen.

4 thoughts on “The Lives of Lobstermen & Women

  1. Reading your blog on lobstermen hits home with me. I have spent most of my working life as a commercial fishermen. While I was raised around the Atlantic and loved to surf as a kid, my dad was not a commercial fishermen. I married very young and my girls are now married to Maine lobstermen, raising my perfect grankids. At a very young age I learned the men I respect most are hard working men like my dad, and of these men it was the commercial fishermen I had the greatest respect for(other then my dad). So in all my wisdom at the grand ol age of 18, I thought the way to have self respect was to become one of the commercial fishermen I had so much respect for, it worked. The greatest compliment my girls could give me and my wife, was to marry a fishermen from the same community they were raised in, now my girls are fishermen’s wives just like their mom, married up with men just like me. Fishen is tuff, real tuff, being a self employed fishermen takes a great deal of work, often you are asleep within an hour after getting home and out the door well before sun rise, the temperature would need to be under 5* F to keep most guys from headed out into the frozen sea smoke. My boy worked as a lobstermen summers now working in Portland Maine as a licensed commercial refridgeration tech, he is known for working hard, real hard, he would have it no other way. At 55 I can say, raising my children with my wife as a commercial fishemen is what gives me self respect.

    • Hig – thanks for adding your perspective. I especially liked your remark about the greatest compliment your daughters could give you was to marry a fisherman right from their own community. Lobster families represent everything good about Maine.

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