Wes Bunker

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

Becca Silsby

Principal Investigator

Wes Bunker is a part-time lobster fisherman and sea urchin diver in Hancock County, Maine.  

Scope and Content Note
Wes Bunker, a lobsterman with ten years of experience, talks about his career choice, the start of a lobsterman's day, the equipment needed, and the use of technology. Wes discusses the "gold rush" in the urchin industry and its decline. He explains the basic equipment required for lobstering and the personal gear needed, such as rubber boots and oilskins. Additionally, he explains that the lobster industry has size and gender limitations.  The freedom of the job is what Wes enjoys most about his career.  Wes details his daily routine, which involves going out to sea on a 32-foot boat and setting around 350 traps. He talks about the dangers of the job, including a time when his boat caught fire and he was stranded in the middle of the bay. When asked about the most difficult part of the job, he mentions the physical toll on his shoulder and the financial investment required to become a lobsterman. Wes talks about unspoken boundaries among fishermen and the consequences of crossing into another fisherman's territory.  Additional topics include various aspects of lobster fishing, such as the type of bait used, the frequency of checking traps, and the lifespan of lobsters, and the differences in the types of bottom where lobsters can be found and how it affects their fishing success. Finally, Bunker mentions that fishing in certain areas is restricted to those who are born and brought up in that area due to unwritten laws.

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