Let’s hope The Lobstering Life doesn’t turn out to be a nostalgic look at an industry and way of life that once defined Maine.
This exceptional book, published in 2011 by The Countryman Press, is a gorgeous photographic presentation of lobstering. David Middleton and Brenda Berry are professional photographers whose evocative photos may cause you to want to drop everything to become a sternman on a Maine lobster boat.
Well, look a bit closer, because it’s not all gorgeous sunny days on the water! Check page 22, for example, called “winter storm.” Oh yea, they lobster in the winter. Or page 29, “steaming out at dawn.” Oh yea, they are up well before the sun. Or page 107, “unloading the catch after a long day out.” Oh yea, the sun has set before they return to the dock.
You will laugh when you see “wrinkled butts” on page 109, smile at “heading out for a day of lobstering with grandpa” on page 70, and marvel as every gorgeous photo captures the lobstering life in all its glory.
You will also learn a lot about lobsters and those who catch them. The book’s text is brief but very informative. I had no idea why lobsters turn red in the pot. Now I do!
Maine fishermen are in trouble and Maine’s fishing industry is in decline. In just the last month, decisions to shut down the shrimp and scallop seasons will do additional damage to those who depend on those species. More bad news about cod arrived in last Sunday’s newspaper.
My grandmother packed sardines in Lubec in one of the state’s 75 packing plants. She would never have imagined a day when we’d pack no sardines in Maine. But that day arrived. I have often wished I had photos of Nana Searles in that sardine plant.
I can’t imagine a day when Mainers will not catch lobsters. But I’m going to hold onto The Lobstering Life and pass it on to my kids, just in case.