The Working Waterfront

Letters: Trump, ghost gear, and columnists

Posted 2020-10-28
Last Modified 2020-10-28

The Working Waterfront welcomes letters to the editor, guest columns, and op-ed columns, as space allows. Columns should be cleared with the editor before submitting and should contain no more than 650 words. Letters should be about 300 words, and should be sent to editor Tom Groening at with “LTE” in the subject line. Columns and letters should relate to newspaper content, or issues connected to the coast and islands.

Traps were ghost towns

To the editor:

As always, I enjoy reading the Island Institute’s stories. But the “Group works to recycle ‘ghost’ traps” in the September issue came close to home for me with an oft repeated “fact” that I know to be a misnomer, and so I’m driven to raise my hand and say something.

I know there are not millions of ghost traps out there with imprisoned lobsters languishing ‘til death. As a commercial diver I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours crawling around every island and ledge down to 60 feet between Vinalhaven, North Haven, and Mount Desert Island. I have gone by hundreds of ghost traps and never seen a lobster in any of them. I have watched lobsters, in traps connected to the surface by rope and buoy, back out of traps.

I think the lobsters that are caught just had the misfortune of being in that trap when it was hauled. A while later and they would have been gone.

Parker Waite



Trump spoke through Joyce

To the editor:

I have never ever written a letter to the editor. I hope this will be the only one. Missing from the transcript of Jason Joyce’s remarks at the GOP convention in the October issue is—”My name is Donald J. Trump and I approve this message.”

I don’t oppose Mr. Joyce’s right to express his views and vote for a particular candidate. I understand The Working Waterfront’s mission is to represent the various people and communities of the Maine coast—their goals, ideals, and achievements. However, I ask the editor, what were you thinking? Will the next issue have someone from Portland with a Joe Biden plug?

In this political polarized climate The Working Waterfront has done a great job helping fan the fire and deepening the political division.

If your argument is that it was only a transcript, I would find that somewhat disingenuous. As editor you have the responsibility of presenting clear, unprejudiced, unbiased articles. I don’t see that effort here.

It may be the majority opinion of coastal Maine and their fisherman that Donald J. Trump represents their point of view; if so, then structure the transcript as such and not as a political advertisement. Mr. Joyce’s comments were made at the convention and should have stayed at the convention and not made it onto the pages of your publication.

Weld S Morse

Dartmouth, Mass.

Editor’s note: We deemed it newsworthy that a fisherman from one of our small island communities was selected to speak on such a large, national stage as the GOP convention, and so printed his remarks, verbatim, rather than wade into the issues of this presidential campaign.


Another view of tariffs

To the editor:

After reading The Working Waterfront’s October issue, I feel a rebuttal to Mr. Joyce’s ill-informed opinions regarding Donald Trump’s reelection is in order.

I was dumbstruck by Joyce’s three cheers for Trump’s “ending” the EU tariffs on Maine lobsters. Doesn’t he realize Trump was the “genius” who started the trade war in 2018 that hurt sales of lobster to Europe? He was forced to undo his own disaster for the industry, and then he claim it as a victory?

It’s the same with the loss of sales to China. Because of his 2018 trade war with that country, sales to China have fallen from $182.2 million for the year ended June 2018 to $94.6 million for the year ended June 2019. And under President Obama, lobstermen had the largest harvest in recent memory at 185 million pounds in his last year in office. So why were he and Biden “bad” for business? It seems to me Joyce’s man Trump is the problem, not the solution.

I’ve been hauling traps since 1969. Due to warmer ocean temperatures there is no longer commercially viable lobstering on the backside of Cape Cod. Most likely there soon won’t be where I fish off Plymouth, Mass.

Now that Trump has dropped the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords, maybe your waters will warm as quickly as ours, and guess what? Your lobsters will head for Canada and Mr. Joyce may well be the last of his eight generations of lobstermen.

C. Kane

Duxbury, Mass.


Loves the columnists 

To the editor:

It is always such a pleasure to receive The Working Waterfront each month, even though I have no relationship to a waterfront, per se, other than growing up in a Maine coastal town and living in one now, and, of course, loving the fruits of the sea.

There are no fishermen or women in my family for at least five generations, but I read every article and love the columnists. Sandy Oliver, Phil Crossman, Courtney Naliboff, Barbara Fernald, and Laurie Schreiber are true gems. Thank you for providing such informative and interesting reading.

Martha B. Higgins