Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Maine Events: Lobster Industry Litter

Rusting lobster traps and broken lobster buoys washed ashore on an island in the Deer Isle Archipelago, off Stonington, Maine, USA
Well, this probably isn’t going to be a very popular post. But it is important.

As paddlers, we see things from a different perspective sometimes. At a slower pace. We tend to spend more time wherever we are. It takes us longer to get there in a kayak! Maybe that's why some of us become sea kayakers. We take a deeper look. Like it or not.

The words, “Lobster Industry Litter” ran through my head so many times while paddling the Deer Isle Archipelago off Stonington, Maine last August that I became confused about eating seafood, and especially lobster.

When I looked at how much effort and resources are expended and how much industry litter lobster harvesting causes, I wondered how I could justify looking at a bright red lobster that was brown before it was boiled alive – now sitting on my plate.

And the answer was. I couldn’t.

But then, you could say the same thing about many other industries as well. It’s just that I don’t always stop to think about it.

Traveling and paddling have made me stop and think and see differently sometimes.  I’m just sayin’!

As paddlers, we can show you a lot of pretty pictures, but there is also another side to what we see.

While visiting islands like Gooseberry, Russ, Sand, and Green, in the Deer Isle Archipelago, I wondered if as much effort to harvest and sell lobsters was being spent to also clean up the mess the lobster industry leaves behind?
Rusting lobster traps on an island in the Deer Isle Archipelago, off Stonington, Maine, USA.
Who is responsible for cleaning up all this Lobster Industry Litter on land and in the sea?

Apparently your tax dollars, if you pay U.S. taxes, and volunteers who didn’t create the mess in the first place, along with the lobster industry.

Hmmm, that doesn’t sound fair or right to me. But, maybe like me, you weren’t aware.

Guess what? There’s a lot more of this Lobster Industry Litter causing all kinds of problems underwater.

What you see washed up on islands and on the mainland is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more Lobster Industry Litter down below, rusting, rotting, and destroying ocean habitat for other species. Or roaming around loose causing navigational hazards for boats and whales.

There are efforts to retrieve some of the lost Lobster Industry Litter. They like to call it “gear”.

What is salvaged each year is nothing compared to what is still left behind, and more is lost each year than is ever recovered.

Lobster Industry Litter keeps accumulating at an alarming rate.

Even if you don't eat lobster, it is costing more and more money to fund lobster harvesting clean up. And it costs the environment a whole lot more.

Now, how much is that red lobster sitting on your plate really costing you and the rest of the planet?

For more information see Bangor Daily News in Maine, USA and related articles within these stories:

$2.3M eyed to retrieve lost lobster traps
Lobster Trap Clean Up
Lobster Traps Adrift

What's this all about?
See the first Maine Events

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

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