I Wanna Be a Lobsterman

This is my brother, Peter. He is a lobsterman, actually the captain of the boat. A lobsterman is like a farmer except that agribusiness is not involved. There are no giant commercial farms owned by multinational corporations, no chemicals, no antibiotics, no genetic modifications, and no Monsanto beating down the door. Some people find lostering romantic; I find it dangerous. Same thing, I guess. I asked Peter about catching lobsters, and he told me this is how it’s done:

  • Get a fishing boat. Rig it to catch lobsters. Load 1600 lobster pots. Hire a four-man crew.
  • String bait, 3 to 4 skate to a string. Load 43 barrels of skate and a few pallets of poggies (menhaden) because the lobsters like a blend.
  • Steam from Rhode Island out to the coast of Maine where your lobster pots are already in the water. They are strung with line, 50 pots attached, 25 fathoms (150 feet) apart.
  • Drop anchor and haul in the pots with an electrical lift. Expect 10 lbs of lobster in each pot.
  • Land – Band – Bait (Land: bring in a pot and put the lobsters on the table; Band: place rubber bands around the claws and put the lobster in a tank of cold, aerated water; Bait: reload the empty pot with bait.)
  • Set Back: The pots are stacked on the deck in order: first pot in is the last pot out. Lower the lines while the boat is moving. Whatever you do, don’t tangle up the lines!
  • Repeat for 4 or 5 days, and then steam back to port.
  • Pack Out.  Back on shore, pump down the water from the holding tanks. Separate the lobsters into 100 pound crates.  Hoist the crates into a refrigerated truck.
  • Drive the truck to Boston where the lobsters are graded and sold: Select, Cull (one claw), Chicken (1 – 1.5 pounds), and Soft (this lobster has molted, only the cooked meat is sold)
  • Get paid. Hang around for a few days. Hope the crew stays out of jail. Get up and do it again.

    Your thoughts: Do you eat lobster?
    Lobster Nutrition: A 3-ounce serving of cooked lobster has only 76 calories, <1 g of fat, 16 g of protein, 413 mg of sodium, 184 mg of cholesterol, 160 g of calcium, 1.8 mg of iron, and a decent amount of potassium, zinc, other trace minerals, and niacin (vitamin B3.)

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