In Maine, Tensions Over Ailing Lobster Industry


The New York Times
By ABBY GOODNOUGH

This tiny island, 22 miles out at sea, is generally so quiet that it is hard to imagine the chaos that descended one midsummer day.

Early that morning, one veteran lobsterman shot and seriously wounded another on the Matinicus wharf, the peak of a dispute over whether the gunman’s son-in-law — a mainlander — could fish in the waters surrounding the island. The feud had been escalating for months, a symptom of the economic crisis battering lobstermen up and down Maine’s coast.

Now the gunman is banned from the island, and the roughly three dozen other lobstermen here are pleading for help. They want the state to carve out a restricted zone where only full-time Matinicus residents can catch lobsters, an extraordinary step that the state is now considering to preserve the local livelihood and the island itself. Such a zone would most likely need legislative approval.

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