Vol. 13, No. 11 - November 2008 News & Comment for and by the Fishermen of Maine      SUBSCRIBE NOW!!
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Lobster Market Crash
by Laurie Schreiber

Economists, bankers, state agencies, and the lobster industry came together earlier this month to see how they could help lobster fishermen get through hard times.

The boat price of lobster plummeted in recent weeks, to as low as $1.90 per pound. The steep price drop goes hand in hand with the global economic crisis, and is more specifically blamed on tumult in the Canadian processing industry, which itself is suffering from both a lack of credit and a soft consumer market; as well as a soft live market in general. Canadian processors have been hit hard because many borrow from Iceland's banking system, which recently collapsed.

"People stand to lose a lot right now, and it is not just the young people with big boat payments," Bar Harbor lobstermen and Zone B chairman Jon Carter said. "Young guys need to fish hard right now because they have houses, boats and babies to pay for. I own my boat, and I'm still worried about making my house payments." He added: "We should look to the military to buy our lobsters and feed the troops."

Governor John Baldacci has directed his administration to take measures that can alleviate credit and other issues that have threatened the viability of the industry.

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The lobster market price collapse crisis involves thousands of families along the coast. Fall is prime lobster fishing time; nearly 80 percent of total landings occur from September through November. Its the time of year when fishermen put away much of their earnings to make it through the lean winter months. Chessie Johnson photo

Invasion of Belfast - Part II
by Tom Seymour

Part I described the arrival of British troops in Penobscot Bay and the invasion and occupation of some of the towns on the bay. The British sailed upriver, taking prisoners and looting provisions.

Brigadier General John Blake, of Brewer, accompanied by 300 militiamen armed with a variety of mostly antiquated smoothbore long guns, soon added his weight to the growing American resistance. Blake, Morris and the town fathers from Hampden convened a council of war. A fight was in the offing.

Unfortunately, the council of war held by the American chiefs came to nothing; they reached no agreement. Captain Morris mistrusted the militia, the representatives from Hamden apparently could not make their voices heard and if General Blake had any pertinent suggestions, they fell on dear ears. No specific, concerted plan was formulated to defend Hampden, or the river north of the town.

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Belfast from the upper eastern shore of Penobscot Bay, before 1875. Old Route 1 is on the far right. Many of the larger industrial buildings were not there when the British arrived in 1814. After the Civil War in the 1860's industrial expansion made for more mixed use development on the waterfront. Photo: History of Belfast, Joseph Williamson, Volume I