Joe’s Journal

I’m for the local guys

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 09/14/2022 - 7:00am

Just to let you know, in case you might have forgotten, that I am a Hoosier. I was born and raised in Indiana. I am from away.

Once upon a time, I met this lady who was a Mainiac through and through. She was born and raised on the banks of the Damariscotta River and only agreed to marry me and live in Indiana because I had a job and promised to love, honor, and feed her and our kids.

But she imposed three requirements, demanding the Indiana license plate on her car read: MAINE. She always told people she was not a Hoosier, but a Mainer in exile. When we retired, she told me she was going home to East Boothbay.

I tell you this stuff to let you know that while I am from away, my bride convinced me to adopt this state and switch my allegiance to reflect the views of my friends and neighbors.

So, I think it is a damn shame that a scientific organization, from away, from California, no less, declared war on my local friends, the lobster fishermen.

Somehow, without evidence, a respected marine scientific institution encouraged the nation to eliminate lobsters from stores and menus. Despite their statistical evidence to the contrary, they decreed that lobster fishing gear is the main reason the population of the mighty right whale is in peril.

Their website urges us to avoid Maine lobsters.

Here is their argument. “The Southern New England stock isn't experiencing over fishing, but it is considered depleted because of disease and changing environmental conditions. (Lobster) Pots typically have fewer impacts on habitat, but the cumulative effects of large-scale fishing are likely underestimated. Some measures to protect the ecosystem are in place, but stronger policies are needed to protect American lobster's role in the food web.”

But in the same posting, they say this: “California spiny lobster from California and Caribbean spiny lobster from Florida are good alternatives.”

So, they say the local lobster from their shores is OK, but Maine lobster is not.

Does the old saying ring true? Does it all depend upon whose ox is being gored? As we used to say back in Hoosierland: “Hogwash.”

I am not alone. Last week, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, and Independent Sen. Angus King stood together backing our local lobster fishermen. Former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who is running for his old job in a bitter, and somewhat personal battle with Gov. Mills, stood up for the lobstermen too.

We respect our friends in the scientific community, like those at East Boothbay's Bigelow Lab, who have spent their lives studying the environment. For years, despite opposition from industry lobbyists and their lapdog political pals, these scientists warned us the climate is changing. Slowly, their precise findings, when added to the prevailing capital market pressures, convinced many major industry players to shift to alternative business models.

Across the nation, coal-powered power plants are closing as alternative energy sources go online.

Electric cars are no longer a novelty as the big boys, GM and Ford, are transitioning to EVs. Newbies, like TESLA, have elbowed their way into the sales mix while Toyota, VW, Mercedes Benz, and the rest of the car-making universe race to catch up.

Huge factories are being built in the USA to produce the EVs batteries. The nation, states and local communities are exploring ways to provide charging stations to keep them on the road.

But those changes were based on scientific data. Not so the institution called Seafood Watch. While admitting there have been no deaths of right whales due to contacts with lobster gear, they urged major players, like Whole Foods and the Cheesecake Factory, to erase lobster from their menus and inventories.

Ironically, they admit strikes from large seagoing vessels killed whales. But they did not choose to pick a fight with the world ocean commerce industry. Instead, they pounced on the little guy, our local Maine lobstermen who sail small vessels on the mighty ocean. Why? Because they want to feed their kids.

Well, you can count this old scribbler standing on the side of the local guys and gals who risk life and limb to harvest lobsters.

As for Seafood Watch, maybe I should encourage folks not to eat at restaurants that refuse to serve lobster. Maybe we should avoid Whole Foods and shop at Hannaford, Shaws, or local markets that carry them.

Sorry for taking your time on this personal rant. I hope you agree.

Let me close with a tribute to the passing of a great lady, Queen Elizabeth.

And, I note, the hearse carrying the British queen was built by Mercedes-Benz, a German concern. That shows how much the world changed during the time she ruled the UK.