Lobstering Then and Now
by Sandra Dinsmore
The differences in boats, equipment, catch, and price when fishermen started and now stagger the imagination. Four Deer Isle fishermen from different parts of the island, and starting at different times, tell the story.
Ed Blackmore and his year-older brother, of Stonington village, started fishing at ages eleven and twelve in 1937. They appropriated a few of their grandfather’s traps and a 12-foot rowboat with double oarlocks, so both could row. Their grandfather had left lobstering for work on a dragger because there was “no price” for the few lobsters then being caught. “It was unheard of to have an outboard motor in those days,” Blackmore recalled. “You’d have to be super rich.” The local buyer gave the boys bait. Although they didn’t catch many, Blackmore said they earned 10 cents/lb. and 2 cents/lb. more. if they had put the wooden pegs in the claws.