Originally published in Compass, April 24, 2014
Helping lobstermen through bawdy humor
Penobscot East Resource Center recently launched two hilariously informative videos to share information with Maine’s lobstermen on proper lobster handling and transport aimed at helping them get the highest price possible for their catches. The communities of coastal Maine are more reliant on small-scale fishing than any other region in the east coast of the United States, according to a news release from Penobscot East. The recent downward trend in lobster prices, while good news for consumers, is devastating for lobstering communities, whose livelihood relies on stable market prices for lobster. These videos are designed to have a positive economic impact on coastal Maine communities.
“The Perfect Tail,” the first video released on April 10, features real Maine lobstermen who appear to be discussing how to find a woman to date, but are actually describing how to handle lobsters to keep them healthy, including putting rubbers on to avoid injury. Penobscot East believes the funny and somewhat racy videos will grab the attention of lobstermen and effectively convey an important message.
The second video, “Preventing Shrinkage,” will be released in June and features yet more Maine lobstermen discussing how they avoid shrinkage, which refers to the loss of product in the market chain. The video uses humor and innuendo about the male anatomy to deliver an important message about how to limit the loss of product through best-practice handling and transport. Video production for both short films was done by Allen Baldwin of Strongpaw Productions.
Penobscot East and the Town of Stonington conducted research that shows that careful handling on the boat and dock can reduce the injury rate to lobsters by over 70 percent. This means that lobsters are less likely to die during the trip from the ocean to market which can significantly impact lobstermen’s bottom line and the overall value of the lobster catch. By sharing with lobstermen information about better lobster handling and transport techniques, Penobscot East hopes to help lobstermen improve the quality and quantity of their catch so they can receive the best price for their product.
Penobscot East is a nonprofit organization in Stonington whose mission is to secure a sustainable fishing future for communities of eastern Maine and beyond. The organization provides education, innovation and leadership to demonstrate that it is possible to sustain a well-managed, local fishing economy, forever. The organization’s work in science, management and policy is woven together by environmental, economic and civic threads.
The Stonington Lobster Working Group, a sub-group of the Stonington Economic Development Committee, Maine Lobstermen Association, and other partners endorse these educational videos.
To view “The Perfect Tail,” visit penobscoteast.org For more information, contact Robin Alden, executive director at Penobscot East, at 367-2708, or visit the website.