Hey Nick! Tell us a little bit about your life Downeast lobstering.
I am the owner/operator of F/V Invictus in Jonesport & I started my journey in the lobster business back in 2006. I first worked the stern summers during high school. I didn't intend to make lobstering a career but I was quickly hooked. After years in the stern of a lobster boat, I finally pursued my commercial lobster license. Finally in 2015, I bought my first boat and started fishing on my own. As of the 2019 season, I fish inside the 3-mile line and my season typically lasts from June to November. Beyond lobstering, I keep busy year round as I hold both a Maine scallop & elver license.
Is there a typical “ day in the life” of a Maine lobsterman? We really know there isn't, but can you share some highs and lows of lobstering.
You are absolutely right, there isn't a typical day in our line of work. Every day is different and that's the beauty and ultimately, the challenge of the job. There is no shortage of highs and lows. For me personally, the biggest 'high' of the job comes every summer when I get the first good shedder haul of the season. There is just something magical about that time of the year. When that first run of shedders hits inshore, the feeling in the air is palpable. The weather is at it's best and you finally start to reap the rewards of getting gear ready and set.
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of obstacles in our way daily but the single biggest is most definitely mother nature (fog, high winds, big tides, temps etc). The weather has a direct impact on every aspect of our job so it can really work against you and compound the other challenges you are facing. Your only choice is to stay on the mooring or grind through what Mother Nature brings our way on the open water. Working in unfavorable weather isn't fun by any means but after the workday is over, you feel a sense of accomplishment for grinding through it and not allowing it to hinder you from making a paycheck.
It seems that your passion to capture amazing photos of Maine lobstering led you to create @mainelobsterfishermen of Instagram. What inspired you to create one of Maine’s largest social media accounts that shares the ‘visual’ life of Maine lobster men and women?
The inspiration for @mainelobsterfishermen really came from my travels around the United States. Whenever my line of work as a lobster fisherman would come up in conversation with people outside of Maine, it would bring about fascination and a multitude of questions from those folks, especially in land-locked states. Everywhere I went, people were quite familiar with Maine lobster as a dish but they had little knowledge about what goes into catching lobster. Through these interactions I realized just how unique the life of a Maine lobster fisherman is and that we have a story worth telling.
So, then I began to flirt with the idea of documenting Maine's lobster fishery myself but at the time I did not know exactly how I would go about it. I simply knew it was an endeavor I wanted to attempt. I eventually settled on documenting Maine's lobster fishery through social media posts as I found that to be the most effective way to reach folks on a large scale. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I wanted seafood lovers on the outside to see the world of lobster fishing as we see it daily as fishermen. Until recent times, most lobstering photography simply consisted of photos of boats on moorings taken from the shoreline. What makes our page interesting is that the majority of the photos taken ARE BY real Maine lobstermen on the job. We take followers on a visual journey beyond the harbors and out to sea where the action really happens.
Finally, what does being raised and living your life in Maine mean to you?
To me being a Mainer truly exemplifies being independent and resilient. Maine is a tough state to make a living and survive in, but we do it generation after generation and we continue to build strong communities that are vested in preserving the Maine way of life. Mainers hold onto that tradition of fierce independence, hard work and the will to weather whatever storm comes our way.