The lobstering industry is unique from other fisheries such as herring or cod. A lobsterman is a sole proprietor. State law prevents a large company overseeing a fleet of lobstering boats, so lobstermen really do everything from bookkeeping, purchasing and fishing! Since 1850, when catching lobsters with traps began in Maine, the fishery has grown into the largest one in Maine. In order to be a successful lobsterman, they need a boat, bait, ropes, traps, insurance, storage, skills as well as fishing knowledge. Lobstermen, in Maine, are licensed by the state. This license must be renewed every year, and if they choose not to renew, they need to start the application process all over again. Lobstermen usually live in coastal areas, and their fishing boundaries tend to be located offshore from where they live. (GMA, n.d.)
In Maine lobstermen fish year-round but the most productive time is between late June and late December, when the lobsters are moving. Regardless of the season, lobster fishing is easily the most active throughout New England in the Gulf of Maine. More info here.
Most types of weather won’t get in the way of a lobstermen going out. They are used to high winds and choppy waters. Heavy winds and strong water currents not only make catching a lobster more difficult, they are also dangerous for a lobsterman and his/her crew. Flat, calm water conditions are optimal for lobster fishing.
Depending on their license type, lobstermen can fish alone or with a crew of up to three people.
Over the age of 18 but under 20: must complete all the requirements of the Apprenticeship Program. Must have a high school diploma and must purchase you license before the age of 20. Over the age of 20 but under 23: have logged time fishing in the Apprenticeship program before you turn 18. Must complete all requirements of program before you turn 23. Must currently be enrolled in and meeting requirements at a post secondary institution. More info here. Per 2015, average age of Maine lobstermen is 50 years old. (MLCA, n.d.)