Danner Curtis

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Ellsworth High School - Maine


These interviews were conducted as part of Ellsworth High School's participation in the NOAA Fisheries Service  (NMFS) Local Fisheries Knowledge Pilot Project 2003-2005.  All 10th graders participated in this interdisciplinary project that involved English, History, Social Studies, and Biology classes. To read about the LFK Project, go to http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/lfkproject/.

Date of Interview

Anthony Britt
Matt Karst
Matt Burton
Amy Dalrymple

Principal Investigator

Danner Curtis is a lobsterman based in Blue Hill Bay, Maine. Curtis did not come from a fishing family and was able to start fishing after filling out a Maine state license. There are now permit programs in place, including a student program that allows students to fish 150 traps in the summer as long as they attend college.

Scope and Content Note
Danner Curtis discusses the tagging system for lobsters in Maine, trap limits, licenses, and price fluctuations. He explains that lobster fishing is a labor-intensive and expensive industry that requires a lot of physical effort.  Fresh bait is important when catching hard lobsters, and Curtis has some tricks to increase his catch. Curtis explains the importance of respecting boundaries when it comes to fishing and the consequences of pulling someone else's traps. He also discusses the migration patterns of lobsters and the different colors they can be, including blue and yellow. It is revealed that all lobsters are born blue but turn red, and it takes seven years for a lobster to reach market size. Danner also shares some anecdotes about other fishermen, sailboats, and lobsters caught in rudders. He explains how they v-notch female lobsters to protect them and how lobsters shed their shells. Danner also talks about the overfishing of lobsters due to nets and how gill-fishing is a dying breed because of the regulations. He also criticizes the laws in other states that allow people to keep big lobsters and explains how money controls many aspects of the fishing industry. Curtis says it’s a mystery why lobsters go to the mud in wintertime despite the deep water available to them.  Finally, he reflects on the cost of being a lobster fisherman and how the prices of lobster have not increased much over the years.

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