The Working Waterfront

‘Lawyer’s lunch,’ history reminders

Our readers opine on a range of topics

Posted 2022-12-19
Last Modified 2022-12-19

‘Lawyer’s lunch’

To the editor

Your article on innovation (November issue, Rock Bound, “Will innovation save lobstering?”) brings to mind one I read recently in The Spectator, wherein the history of the barcode was discussed. It required investment and understanding.

The lobster industry as a whole, not just in Maine, has been beset by changes in rules and regulations. In business, it seems something—somebody—tries to interfere with the flow of it. (Certainly I’ve seen it, running my business for 54 years.)

Once all the efforts have failed to undercut the logic and reason for the change, there is little choice but to figure out how to get an early edge on accommodating that change.

Let’s look back at the rule to put escape hatches in lobster traps.

At first it was fiercely resisted. “Too expensive.” “Won’t work.” Yet it has been a game changer, helping lobster population growth, and reducing the number of shorts brought to the surface.

Innovation, rather than resistance, might be the better path in the right whale debate, now that all the arguments are exhausted and the lawyers are eating our valued lobster industry’s lunch.

Davies Allan
Westport Island


History reminders

To the editor:

I very much enjoy The Working Waterfront. This morning, I wandered through it and came to the article about the Liberty ships in South Portland. We live in Ferry Village and Bug Light Park is less than a half hour walk from home.

I don’t think most of the neighbors understand what this area was like during the early 1940s when 30,000 workers were building the ships. Many of the houses in the village were expanded to accommodate workers. And, I can imagine how many people crowded into homes because of the war effort.

On top of the massive population at the shipyards was the movement of people and materials on a 24 hour, 7 days a week basis. The remnants of rail lines still can be seen in the ruts on Broadway and the greenbelt trail, and abandoned tracks are near some of the oil tanks.

Whether or not they know the massive size of the ocean and Liberty ship effort, it is common knowledge. What I have not seen in casual reading, though, is the role Casco Bay and other Maine ports played in the convoys of ships traveling to Europe during the war.

Also, the extent of the role played by Maine ports in the invasion of Africa in November 1942.

As I understand it, ships on the East Coast would travel up to Maine to assemble for the journey. Some might continue to Canada’s Maritime provinces to shorten the transatlantic trip.

I think it’s time for a trip to the Maine Maritime Museum to learn more. Keep up the great work with your publication.

Brian Nickerson
South Portland



To the editor:

As a member of and contributor to the Island Institute, I read The Working Waterfront with regularity. While catching up on back issues, I came across Phil Crossman’s “Observer” column in the February/March issue in which he recounted his experiences in Florida.

He referred to his skin as “a complexion that would have made the Aryan Nation proud.” The disturbing attempt at humor evokes white nationalists and Nazis, both of whom aspire to that which Crossman makes cheerful reference.

Such hate groups seek elimination of people of color, Jews, Native Americans, and those in the LGBTQ community. They are racists as well as anti-Semitic.

In citing these groups, Mr. Crossman belies a lack of understanding of the horror that emanates from them, currently and in the not-so-distant past.

That The Working Waterfront allowed this reference to be published is not only disturbing, it is unacceptable.

Kathie Florsheim
Providence, R.I.

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