The Cohen Journal

Document Type



The motivation behind this letter was a remark by Maine Department of Marine Resources Lobster Biologist, Carl Wilson. While attending the Rockland Maine based Island Institute’s annual Climate Round Table event, where fishermen, scientists, and others gather to talk about the past year in the Gulf of Maine, Wilson said, in reference to the lobster industry, “When the resource changes, everything changes.” This comment, poetic in its simplicity, got me to start thinking. I began retracing the history of Maine’s lobster industry to find examples of Wilson’s statement, and I was surprised by how many instances supported this comment. What follows is my attempt to put to paper my thought process in a more academically rigorous manner. The goal of this letter is not to come to some grand conclusion that fisheries managers can use to craft a concrete plan for the future of Maine’s lobster industry. Rather, it is to cast a light on the social circumstances behind where Maine’s lobster industry is in 2014, how we got here – and what that means for the future. Ultimately, I hope to encourage people to look at potential actions that the fishery can take now, when things are looking good for the humble lobster, rather than later, when things may not be as positive.