Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Liberal Studies


Lisa Neuman

Second Committee Member

Carol Toner

Third Committee Member

Pauleena MacDougall


This interdisciplinary study outlines the current issues in the crab fishery in Maine specifically through the eyes of the people who pick and handle crabmeat. Many individuals involved in the crabbing fishery in Maine were interviewed including people associated with seafood processing, composting, farming, food history, law enforcement, lobstering, crabbing, and crab picking. These interviews make up the bulk of the previously undocumented crab picking industry and advances the known information associated with the crab fishery as a whole. The extensive use of photography also provides a better picture of the industry and a clear vision of what the crab picking process is like in Maine in 2012/2013.

There is a misalignment between state regulations placed on people who fish for crab and the people who process and pick crab. This study suggests stronger regulations are necessary for the fishermen since there is a history in the state of overfishing unregulated species. This paper advises a reevaluation of the state regulations that crab pickers are required to follow since although crab picking is a cottage industry and current regulations are industrializing it. Because the scale of the picking business has not increased, this industrialization is not financially feasible to Maine’s small scale crab picking houses.