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August 5, 2013 To the Editor

Leave the market for lobsters alone

I read your lobster story, “Clawing back,” in the July 22 issue and perhaps as a piece of reporting on business it was fine. I do think, though, that there is another side to the lobster situation that should be heard. Lobsters are a public resource and not the property or inventory of those who fish for them. For the first time that I can recall, most consumers can afford an occasional lobster feed, and I think that is a problem that doesn't need fixing. If the lobster industry wants to spend its own earned money promoting lobster as a high-end product then I guess that is OK, but it should never have been done with public finances to begin with.

Lobstering today is really an aquaculture business. The lobsters exist in great abundance for two reasons: we feed them tons of scarce baitfish, and the commercial fin fish industry — largely draggers and gillnetters — destroyed the native groundfish populations that used to eat enough of the small lobsters to keep the population in check. Those groundfish populations aren't coming back anytime soon, and we may as well eat these lobsters we are feeding. While some lobstermen might be struggling, others are doing just fine. I grew up in a lobster fishing family in Friendship in the 1950s, and it has always been that way. It is that way in any business. Let the hardworking and efficient survive. If the price needs to come down to move the product so be it. That is business, and it means that people can eat them that otherwise couldn't.

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