The Working Waterfront

Our readers write… and they have opinions

Letters to the editor tackle everything from Trump to live theater

Posted 2020-12-22
Last Modified 2020-12-22

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.


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.


Kudos to columnist

To the editor:

After reading Courtney Naliboff’s column (Salt Water Cure, November issue) about her experiment directing outdoor, site-specific theater on North Haven, I just want to add what a delight it was for the audience.
Biking down to Mullins Head—to avoid the steady stream of theatre-going cars and trucks headed her way—I found the gathering of a hundred or so people under a grove of twisty black locust trees. A perfect setting for Ray Bradbury’s The Veldt. It was a sunny day and everyone came with masks and sat apart on blankets and chairs.
As if to underscore the play’s theme of the wild, a hive of ground nesting bees was disturbed and had to be quickly fenced off with fallen branches.
I remembered Bradbury’s story vividly from childhood, about a futuristic nursery where everything the children imagine comes to life on the nursery wall. Cyrus and Rita Brown, sibling actors, played their parts with aplomb all the way to the chilling last scene, when after the gory denouement, Wendy calmly offers the family psychiatrist a cup of tea.
Kudos to Sophie Hansen, who spurred her drama teacher to try outdoor theater and who played the increasingly nervous mother to perfection. Naliboff writes she is looking forward to spring weather when she might revisit outdoor theater. COVID or no COVID, I hope she does!

Alice Cornwell
North Haven


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


The Working Waterfront welcomes op-ed columns and letters to the editor. Columns should contain about 650 words, and cleared before sending with editor Tom Groening ( Letters should contain about 300 words and sent to the same address with “LTE” in the subject line.