On paper? Well, the fishing business didn't look that great for me this year. Fortunately, the lobstering business doesn't live on paper. With all of the changes I've already whined way too much about, what I can now say is that the year was a huge success. My goal was to not lose the house and boat and also to have the wherewithall to get my kids back and forth so they could come home for good portions of the summer. Done.
I wish I could also say my goals were also to have great weather and a fairer, steadier price for lobsters, but those were just falling ass backwards into luck.
A former leader in Maine's maritime executive branch once declared that fishermen should think of lobstering as a business and not a way of life. Aside from how dreary that sounds, it is not true in my case. My P&L sheet may not look so big and horny for the year, but I kept my home, my boat and provided those opportunities for my children. My way of life means a hell of a lot more than money, as follows:
The swiss chard grew like bamboo where I piled my ropes up last year after taking up gear. I have no scientific authority, but what I've heard, and now seen, support the idea that sea weed has gobs of nutrients that make land based plants wicked happy, and are healthy for people.
Fiona and I went apple picking in September and, as in years past, there were a couple of scraggly little trees on the shore that were just bent over with the sweetest apples you could ever taste. Our reusable shopping bag was full to the top in a few minutes. We were very glad to have the offer of a ride home. Apples in pie, sauce, cake and by the slice. Matinicus has countless feral apple trees. It would be pretty cool to do an inventory and know what varieties there are.
Taking up gear was always my least favorite part of the season. This year, though, magic happened despite the physical demands. We started before it was light and went past dark until it was done. Ropes got untied and coiled, traps stacked on the boat and then onto the wharf. After the boat was tied up, the traps got trucked up to the yard and stacked along with rope and buoys. One extremely cool and special feature is the bioluminescence on the ropes and trap runners- bright green points capping the day.
Yeah no- it's not just a business. Next year, though, I'm planning on making more money.