first published in Landings, February, 2020
On January 23, Captain Arnold “Joe” Nickerson, a fourth-generation lobsterman, and his crewman, Chris Pinkham, of Boothbay Harbor, were killed when Nickerson’s boat, the 45-foot Hayley Ann, capsized and sank. Nickerson, who fished out of Kennebunkport, lobstered in the summer and dragged for groundfish and scallops in the winter. No radio calls were received from the Hayley Ann, although the Coast Guard received an EPIRB signal at 12:23 p.m.
Nickerson has recently been named president of the board of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association. “It is hard to state the depth of the profound sadness that we have all felt at the news that Joe Nickerson and his crew Chris Pinkham, perished at sea while out fishing. Maine has lost a great man, father, husband, and grandfather, and I have personally lost a dear friend. Joe’s dedication to the fishing communities of Maine throughout his extensive fishing career, and his knowledge and expertise on the water, made him an invaluable leader for our organization. Our thoughts and prayers are with loved ones both men leave behind,” said Ben Martens, the association’s executive director, in a press release.
Nickerson also had served on the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Advisory Council. “I’ve known Joe for years, and he has been an incredibly valuable contributor for two terms on the DMR Advisory Council, especially with regard to the groundfish and elver fisheries with which he was most directly involved. I chose him to serve on the Council because of his perspective as an experienced, successful fisherman and his calm and constructive approach to problem solving. He was committed to the proper management of Maine’s marine resources and was willing to give his time to help his fellow fishermen. I always valued his insights and ideas. He was a first-rate fisherman, and an excellent representative for Maine’s fishing community,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher in a statement.
Nickerson leaves behind his wife and a daughter. Pinkham leaves behind his wife and two young daughters. A Go Fund Me page has been set up for donations to both men’s families. The pages can be found on the Maine Lobstermen’s Association Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pg/mainelobstermen/posts/?ref=page_internal).
Donations can also be made to the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance Lobstermen’s Relief Fund. In addition, donations to Nickerson’s family can be sent to the Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association at 14 Main Street Box 40, Brunswick, Maine 04011. Donations to the Pinkham family can be sent to The First National Bank of Damariscotta. Checks should be made out to Lynnette Mayotte for The Jessica Pinkham Fund.