The Finding Friendship Oral History Project is a joint effort of the Friendship Museum and the Friendship Village School, directed by Sally Merrick, museum volunteer, and Gaylea Hynd, teacher. In 2003-2004 sixth grade students conducted taped interviews of three generations of lobstermen and women, as well as others associated with the lobstering industry. Printed copies of the interviews and CDs of the printed transcripts are available at the Friendship Museum in Friendship, Maine.
Steven, an experienced lobsterman hailing from Friendship Village, lobsters with his older brother, a junior in high school who owns his own lobster boat. They follow in the footsteps of their father and uncles. Steven's lobstering adventures take him to various locations, including the river, Friendship Long Island, Hall Island, Franklin Island, Egg Rock, and several other spots along the way, venturing out past Egg Rock and fishing in waters as deep as thirty-five fathoms. From the early hours of the morning until midday, Steven and his brother dedicate their efforts to baiting traps, measuring lobsters, and handling the daily catch.
Scope and Content Note
Steven provides valuable insights into his lobstering experience. He has been lobstering for five years, following in the footsteps of his family members, including his father, uncles, and older brother, Philip. Steven and Philip often embark on lobstering expeditions together, going out every day possible during the summer months and Saturdays. He obtained his license by visiting the town office, highlighting the necessary steps taken to engage in lobstering legally. Steven discloses his fishing grounds, which include the river, Friendship Long Island, Hall Island, Franklin Island, Egg Rock, and other spots. When setting traps, he relies on a color machine and flasher for precision. Steven's day typically begins at 3:30 in the morning, and he spends long hours on the boat until around 11:30 or 12:00. As a sternman, his responsibilities include baiting traps, measuring lobsters, and handling the daily catch. Steven discusses the technicalities of hauling traps, attaching the appropriate amount of rope, and using toggles to prevent traps from getting stuck. In terms of his catch, Steven hauls around 150 to 200 traps per day and usually brings in approximately 250 pounds of lobsters. He shares an amusing anecdote about catching an exceptionally large lobster that weighed around 50 to 60 pounds, marveling at how it managed to fit into the trap. Aside from lobsters, Steven encounters a variety of fish in his traps, including flatfish, horn pout, sculpin, dogfish, codfish, stripers, and mackerel. His favorite fish is codfish, while his least favorite is horn pout. He also encounters other sea life, such as crabs, during his time on the water. Steven has a 32-foot vessel with a 360-Chrysler engine. Steven admitts to occasional breakdowns and the inevitable loss of traps and bait bags overboard. Although he had not fallen overboard himself, Steven did mention experiencing seasickness as a child. He reveals that getting caught with a short or v-notched lobster can result in fines or even license suspension.
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