Consider the Lobstermen

The Maine lobster industry has developed a reputation as one of the best managed fisheries in the world. At a time when fish stocks across the globe are depleting at an alarming rate and natural ecologies are reeling from overfishing, many in the industry believe that Maine is getting it right. By giving the responsibility to self-manage the industry to multi-generational fishing families, Maine has ensured that lobster fishing is performed by small, personal operations with the incentive, in a region with few other economies, to carefully manage the fishery. But few have considered how this ethic is enforced—through a fierce brand of self-interested territorialism that can occasionally turn violent—or how the fishermen’s plan to protect oversized lobsters and egg-bearing females has produced a denser lobster population that may be increasingly vulnerable to a catastrophic die-off.

This multimedia slideshow, reported with photographer Travis Dove in Spring 2011, seeks to explore these social and environmental issues through the lens of the Head Harbor lobstermen of Stonington, Maine.

Click below to watch Jesse Dukes’s audio slideshow “Consider the Lobstermen.”

To learn more, read Jesse Dukes’s essay “Consider the Lobstermen.”

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Published: December 31, 2011

Travis Dove is a freelance photographer based in North Carolina. His photographs have appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. In 2010, he was named the “One to Watch” by American Photo magazine...