Lobstermen's Union

Lobstermen's Union


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lobstercatcher

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Its a great idea.

Down here we are told the price drops because fisherman X caught a 1000 lbs. So 1000, fishermen get the price dropped on them. They didn't tell you that the guy was hauled out for 2 weeks and hauled a 2 week set. I know up there the catch is different and you would laugh at a guy who goes out and intentional has to work at it to catch a 100lbs to 200lbs during a average fishing day. It would be harder for them to use us against one another.

Everything else has gone up in priced in the food store quite a bit. I don't know why lobster should go down quite a bit? People still eat??? We been takin advantage of to many times and for too long. Anyone good at math.. What would the inflation adjusted price of $7.00 a lb in 1982 be in todays market. You can't buy a new loaded 4x4 pickup for $6,000like you could back then or a house for 1 tenth of what they sell for now. Who the heck was controlling the price all this time anyway???? The old school dealers made sure the price was realistic. The new price setter appears more like he is rapping us.
 

lobstercatcher

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Hey first, a lot of us don't know the "facts" any chance you have some links so we could brush up on them?
This is the first I had heard of it this morning
Thanks in advance :)

The fact is, Lobster prices haven't kept up with everything else.
Someone else is allowed to work hard and be paid well but apparently a fisherman can't be. It is a exception if they do. A fisherman should be able to earn a average income for average hours worked. The only reason some guys are doing well is because their area is bringing in banner catches. The source could be gone just as easily as it showed up. Look at long Island Sound area as a example.
 

traditions

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Search Bangor Daily news and lobster union.Ther e have been a couple articals in the past couple weeks.The price spread from the boat to the plate is to large.Every one that touches that product adds on thier commission.
 

steveinak

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So what would the union do for you ? set prices ? and if the dealers won't meet the price what will you do strike? Do you think you could get everyone to honor a strike? I never worked up here and even if we did stay in for a couple of days and did get a increase in price it never made up for the lost fishing time. Too many guys way over capitolized that have huge payments to make, they will fish for any price because they have to go fishing no matter what the price.
Something has to be done but a union won't help much if at all in my opinion.
 

Dano62

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If some fishermen want to form a union, go for it. It's a free country (I guess). But, there's no way I would join. I'm as anti-union as they come. It will do absolutely nothing in regard to a higher boat price. The only answer is expanding the market and creating a business climate that makes it more attractive for more lobster dealers (relax business regulation/taxes). You have more dealers competing for product, the boat price goes up. It's happened in this area with the rebate. Simple case of supply and demand.
 

lobstercatcher

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So what would the union do for you ? set prices ? and if the dealers won't meet the price what will you do strike? Do you think you could get everyone to honor a strike? I never worked up here and even if we did stay in for a couple of days and did get a increase in price it never made up for the lost fishing time. Too many guys way over capitolized that have huge payments to make, they will fish for any price because they have to go fishing no matter what the price.
Something has to be done but a union won't help much if at all in my opinion.

A union would unite fishermen , That way a guy doesn't have to accept a drop in price for a excuse of a guy in Jonesport caught a 500 lbs when everyone else is only catching 200 lbs. ( that is a typical excuse we get here for weights that guys up in Maine wouldn't even bother to go try for) What does even a million lbs have to do with a world population. New York City could eat a million lbs in the first 5 minutes of lunch. Strikes don't have to be a part of being unionized. Lobstermen have gone on strike before and I suspect it has nothing to do with the price of lobster. I don't believe in striking anyway. It really does nothing unless you are looking for some time off. Maybe a strike would be great timing about lobster boat race time:D

It has appeared that the price is in a race or contest to how fast and how low can somebody get the price. The large buyers can push the price anywhere they want reguardless of price and demand. All they do is agree with a large restaurant chain to sell them lobsters at $3,50 lb and down it goes. The profit is guaranteed at the cost of the fisherman. The union could inform the fleet of that practice and don't sell to them. If the price never went below $6lb the large dealer wouldn't agree to sell for $3.50.
 
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steveinak

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You don't need a union to make a desision not to sell to a dealer ? do ya ? I know its hard to keep a business relationship with a dealer but if enough boats don't sell to the guy maybe he'll get the message. I think the biggest problem is that all the dealers talk with each other and stack the deck in their favor. Up here it seemed that the "major" buyers would pick a different buyers each week to be the "bad guy" that lowered the price, so not many boats would sell to them but by the end of the fishing period the bad guys would "retro" his low price to match all the other buyers :rolleyes: next fishing period it was another majors turn. Funny thing was that the smaller "cash buyers" were the ones that made the majors price go up so the theory of more buyers makes the price go up has some merrit. Like one of the other posters said its supply and demand and for a fisherman that doesn't catch a lot it might be a option to market your own catch for a higher price. Those guys in RI seem to have a nice thing going selling off their boats direct to the public. I might think about just buying product from another fisherman and selling it off my boat direct to the public and screw going out and busting your balls to catch anything, just buy and sell. Buy for say $3/lb and sell for $4, better money than you could make in any bank and you don't even have to start your engine !!!
 
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Dano62

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How would a union be any more effective than the MLA, the DLA, or the MLPC?
 

lobstercatcher

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How would a union be any more effective than the MLA, the DLA, or the MLPC?

We have a MLA down here. Mass lob asso.

The MLA here ( depends on who you talk to) is really a glorified insurance company who makes money by insuring lobstermen. There secondary effort is geared towards agreeing with the regulation makers on how to cut back on the lobster fishing effort. If you are or were a part time fishermen they did wonders for you. Everyone has a different opinion what a commercial fishing industry is. IMO. What they created isn't it. I love those whale regulations!
 

Dano62

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We have a MLA down here. Mass lob asso.

The MLA here ( depends on who you talk to) is really a glorified insurance company who makes money by insuring lobstermen. There secondary effort is geared towards agreeing with the regulation makers on how to cut back on the lobster fishing effort. If you are or were a part time fishermen they did wonders for you. Everyone has a different opinion what a commercial fishing industry is. IMO. What they created isn't it. I love those whale regulations!

Agreed. I don't see the Maine Lobstermen's Association as being anything different than your state's version. I think the Downeast Lobstermen's Association may have been on the right track in the beginning, but now I just see them asking "how high" when the MLA says jump. When the government proposes some outlandish new regulation, the MLA negotiates for a slightly less outlandish proposal, sells it to the fishermen like we've won something, when all we did was lose more ground. Just my humble opinion.
 

Overkill

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Ask ten fishermen the color of the sky, you'll get fifteen different awnsers. If it takes a union for people to get involved in managing THEIR fishery, so be it. I won't be one of them, I can speak for myself, I dont need to pay someone $12 a week to do it for me.
 

lobstercatcher

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Ask ten fishermen the color of the sky, you'll get fifteen different awnsers. If it takes a union for people to get involved in managing THEIR fishery, so be it. I won't be one of them, I can speak for myself, I dont need to pay someone $12 a week to do it for me.

How about 5 bucks a year for information that the guys down in Ma tripled their catch so we need to drop the midcoast price.. /// Ummm they went from 30 lbs to 90 lbs.. yea thats worth dropping the price for... But if you don't know the difference , they can take advantage of you easier. I know the majority of the buyers are fine. You want those having more say and the current price setters with less. Organizing lobstermen doesn't have to be painfull like in the movies unions. If lobsters got back the proper inflation adjusted price due to organizing. Your profit would be over 5 dollars a lb. Not sure if you would be better off with that but at least you'd make what you should. If it is more than you need to get by.. double or triple etc your retirement fund like everyone else does. Why should a fisherman be different?
 

daytripper

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If Maine's catch stays at 125,000,000 You are never going to see a $5 profit. I would hate to see my dues going to elect Obomma and the like. So they won't get a penny from me.
 

Overkill

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How about 5 bucks a year for information that the guys down in Ma tripled their catch so we need to drop the midcoast price.. /// Ummm they went from 30 lbs to 90 lbs.. yea thats worth dropping the price for... But if you don't know the difference , they can take advantage of you easier. I know the majority of the buyers are fine. You want those having more say and the current price setters with less. Organizing lobstermen doesn't have to be painfull like in the movies unions. If lobsters got back the proper inflation adjusted price due to organizing. Your profit would be over 5 dollars a lb. Not sure if you would be better off with that but at least you'd make what you should. If it is more than you need to get by.. double or triple etc your retirement fund like everyone else does. Why should a fisherman be different?

I don't diagree with what you say, I have been approached by the organizers of this movement , met face to face with a union rep., had a good conversation about why I wouldn't be joining and why I don't think it will work.
I believe if we want to increase the value of our catch (price) we need to focus on marketing, increasing quality and improving handling.
I was still in school in 1982 but I remember eating alot of mac & cheese and coming home and the power had been shut off. I catch more than my father ( who is still fishing at 72) could of ever imagined back then, things are alot better around here than it was back then. That doesn't mean they couldn't be better though.
 

bestfish

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1st off, I'm not a current fisherman so I don't have a dog in this fight, but FWIW what about other advantages of a union beside helping the price? what about health insurance, retirement accounts, boat insurance, college loans for our kids? it could even be large enough to help buy fuel at lower price? Of course nothings free in this world and you get what you pay for (I'm in a union becuase of the company I work for and I have to be, and my health insurance SUCKS but its cheap!) Just something else to think about though. I've been around enough fishermen to know the hardest part is getting them all to agree on anything.
 

lobstercatcher

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I don't diagree with what you say, I have been approached by the organizers of this movement , met face to face with a union rep., had a good conversation about why I wouldn't be joining and why I don't think it will work.
I believe if we want to increase the value of our catch (price) we need to focus on marketing, increasing quality and improving handling.
I was still in school in 1982 but I remember eating alot of mac & cheese and coming home and the power had been shut off. I catch more than my father ( who is still fishing at 72) could of ever imagined back then, things are alot better around here than it was back then. That doesn't mean they couldn't be better though.

"to increase the value of our catch (price) we need to focus on marketing, increasing quality and improving handling."

That isn't a new concept. It is a concept that keeps getting passed around that everyone know will never develope. It hasn't in 40 years that I been in this biz.

In 1982, I was working a 19 foot skiff that I had just put a electrodyne pot hauler on. Prior to that I was pulling by armstrong:D The high lobster price to the boat was $7lb on mothers day weekend. Selects were $10lb. ( people could pay those kind of prices then but can't now?) I was landing a higher dollar value per day out of a skiff on average than I do now. Gas was 10 bucks a day. Bait was $12 a day. A complete trap built was 18. A house was about 1/10 of what they cost now. There were 3 times as many fishermen. No restrictions. You needed your bouy colors flying. Your brand in a trap and a lobster guage. There were guys fishing 1000s of traps. The old timers said there were cycles. I was at the top of one for a few years around the 1980s and I guess your area was near a bottom of a cycle. The cycles come and go so they said. Down here we now may have chemicals in the water that kill alot of the Marine life off . The regulations haven't helped a bit after all these years. Everything has gotton worse. Even the price.:confused: In a world market which we now have, Maines landing equate to a smaller catch than in 1982. It should be worth more then.
 

33youngbrothers

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We have a MLA down here. Mass lob asso.

The MLA here ( depends on who you talk to) is really a glorified insurance company who makes money by insuring lobstermen. There secondary effort is geared towards agreeing with the regulation makers on how to cut back on the lobster fishing effort. If you are or were a part time fishermen they did wonders for you. Everyone has a different opinion what a commercial fishing industry is. IMO. What they created isn't it. I love those whale regulations!

Basically thats what the Maine LA is. Don't know much about the downeast la.

Trap limit helped alot around here, NOT. More traps in the water in my zone then there has ever been.
 

lobstercatcher

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Basically thats what the Maine LA is. Don't know much about the downeast la.

Trap limit helped alot around here, NOT. More traps in the water in my zone then there has ever been.

We were being sold that there would be a trap limit of 800 effective immediately upon passing of that regulation. Gauge increases some in state waters and more in fed waters. etc etc. Depending on the year, The trap limit would be reduced by xyz amount of traps. Therefore, if you kept your 300 trap string and the state cuts another 200 traps per boat.. a guy being a real lobsterman with his 300 traps gets cut back to 100 traps while a trap hauler with 800 traps gets 600. So it made sense to gear up to 800 . That way if the regs cut you back. You would still be able to fish the amount of traps you really wanted to anyway.

Before a trap limit ( and a lot of other regulations) the industry was really common sense regulated anyway. As a example the past 6 months in my area. If there was a boat with 2000 traps out and they got hit with all three storms that we had... They realistically would now need $150,000 in new gear to go fish the next season, They would probably not be in business anymore.

What they should do is keep the 800 trap limit and eliminate the fear that the state will cut traps to the boat. That way someone who really want to fish 300 will fish 300 because they don't have to worry about getting that number cut. Or have a number.. anyone fishing less than 500 traps will never get there trap count cut.

There was also a reg that was suggested was in the works and was supposed to get passed a few years back. Fed waters was going to have a larger gauge size than state waters. A boat was suppose to abide by the strictest regs in which it was permitted for. I got sucked into that one. I have a limited boat size entry in my harbor. I wasn't going to be able to move up in boat size for 25 years which made fed water fishing mostly on the impractical side. So, I didn't keep up on the fed water process and had the fed permit takin away.. What was suppose to happen is the guys next to me with fed permits would have to throw over small chicks in which I would have been able to keep. That would have offset their advantage to having a big boat that was much safer fishing in fed waters. So the moral of the story is.. never believe what they tell you will happen. I based my future on what they said will happen and got screwed for doing it. ow I can't go follow the lobsters in fed waters anymore. Some years it made a huge difference in landings doing it. I shouldn't have trusted the regulation makers and the people that were working with them to cut back the fishing effort.
 
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