Isaac Lash makes his way

First published in the MLA newsletter, March,  2010.

Isaac Lash first started lobstering when he was six years old along side his father in a 36’ wooden boat off the coast of Friendship, Maine. Even at an early age, he knew that fishing was a great way to make a living in Maine and has since then always enjoyed working on the water. “I get to be outdoors and be my own boss.” Lash, now 24, owns a 43’ boat called Big Dipper that is equipped with a 590 Deutz engine. He sells to Lash Lobster.

Making a living from the ocean however has its upsets. Now especially, one of the biggest difficulties that Lash sees with the lobstering industry is the role that the federal government is playing. “It’s all these laws that they’re making. It’s harder for young guys to get started.” Along with the hefty expenses that come with starting out as a fishermen, now the younger generation has to jump through more hoops than ever before just to get a license causing many young men to end their fishing career before it even started.

All along the coast of Maine there is a shared fear of a dwindling younger generation of lobstermen. “It’s harder than it used to be to get a license. You have to apprentice and then go on a waiting list for who knows how long. It would be great if we didn’t have so many regulations that hold us back.” These legal challenges are a very unique obstacle facing this incoming generation, leaving the future of the Maine lobstering industry uncomfortably uncertain.

When asked what’s the weirdest thing that he has pulled up in his trap, Lash with calm nonchalance, said, “Oh, probably a bomb.” Apparently lobstermen used to, and still do, get old bombs from World War II caught in their line out around Monhegan and Friendship. “People have caught them before during shrimping. It was so old I didn’t worry about it. It had holes all over it. Guys apparently used to haul up torpedoes. “

Isaac Lash has been grateful for the support that his community has given him throughout all of the stages of his fishing career. “In any fishing community everybody knows everybody and wants to help each other out, especially the young guys.” Isaac continues to lobster out of Friendship, Maine.