John Crossman

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

Date of Interview

Joyce Whitmore 

Principal Investigator

John Crossman has been a lobster fisherman for 23 years, starting in Frenchboro, an island off the coast. John learned fishing from his father. He currently fishes off Bass Harbor, Mount Desert Island, but keeps his fishing spots secret.

Scope and Content Note
John Crossman was interviewed on March 24, 2005 by Tom Crossman, Aaron Burton, and Donald Awalt, 10th-grade students at Ellsworth High School. Crossman explains how the lobster industry has changed over the years, with more people involved and stricter regulations in place. The best lobster fishing season varies depending on the weather. In warmer winters, August and September are the best months, while in colder winters, October and November yield better catches. The lobster fishing season is year-round, but the period from July 4 to Christmas is when most earnings are made. Regarding lobster prices, John mentioned that he recently received $7.40 per pound, but prices fluctuate. Approximately ten years ago, prices were around $4 per pound during the same time of year. Herring is the primary bait used, and John acquires it from bait dealers or sardine factories. John discussed the challenges and joys of being a lobster fisherman. He highlighted the freedom of being his own boss and working when he wants, but also the physical toll and long hours required. He emphasized the expenses involved, such as rising herring prices and fuel costs. When asked about fishing in different weather conditions, John mentioned that he fishes less in rough weather as it becomes harder on his body. He used to scallop in winter but now focuses solely on lobstering. The interview concluded with John sharing a story about a boat he was on that sank while scalloping. He and his stern man swam away from the boat when it flipped over due to a weight shift, and they were eventually rescued.

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