Jim Stanley

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

Morgan Mackenzie
Tiffany Thurber

Principal Investigator

Jim Stanley is a lobsterman based in Ellsworth, Maine. Born and raised in the area, Jim comes from a family with a strong fishing background. His stepfathers, brothers, and nephews are all involved in the fishing industry, making it a family tradition. Jim started fishing at the age of thirteen, accompanying his uncle and cousin on fishing trips out of Bartlett's Island. Over time, he developed a passion for lobstering and eventually acquired his own boat, a seventeen-foot vessel that he uses to haul traps. Throughout his fishing career, Jim has relied on traditional methods and manual labor. He doesn't use a hauler but instead hauls the traps by hand. His gear includes approximately one hundred traps, buoys, lines, bait bags, and bait buckets. In addition to the essential equipment, he carries hand tools such as a measure and a banding machine. Jim believes that lobstering is a viable and independent means of earning a living in Maine. Unlike other industries tied to land ownership or employment under someone else, lobstering allows individuals to work for themselves and determine their own schedules. He considers it a good job option for people in Maine, offering flexibility and the opportunity to be self-reliant.

Scope and Content Note
This interview, conducted on May 16, 2004, at the home of Jim Stanley, provides insights into his experience as a lobsterman in Ellsworth, Maine. The interviewers, Morgan MacKenzie and Hollie Stanley, both students from Ellsworth High School, ask Jim about his involvement in the fishing business, his family's connection to the industry, and his personal journey as a fisherman. Jim shares details about his own boat, the tools he uses for lobstering, and his perspectives on the profitability of the industry. He also discusses lobster habits, the frequency of his hauls, and the regulations and conservation practices he follows. Jim recounts some entertaining fishing stories and offers insights into the lobstering scene in the Ellsworth area and its significance to the local economy. Jim Stanley has accumulated numerous fishing stories over the years. He shares a couple of memorable experiences, including helping a friend untangle his traps from a navigational buoy and encountering a sudden storm while hauling traps. These anecdotes add excitement and interest to his fishing career. In the Ellsworth area, lobstering is not as prevalent as in other parts of Maine. Jim mentions that lobsters, along with other marine species like eels, alewives, bullfish, stripers, and even Atlantic salmon, can be found in the Union River. He highlights the territorial nature of lobstermen and notes that the best lobstering spots are typically on the islands, such as Swans Island and Bass Harbor. Jim recognizes the significance of the lobstering industry in Maine. It supports not only the livelihoods of lobstermen but also the various businesses and individuals involved in shipping, trucking, boat building, and trap manufacturing. The Maine Lobstermen's Association plays a crucial role in monitoring lobster populations and ensuring sustainable practices to prevent overfishing

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