Your Viewpoint: Beem’s lobstering facts are tangled

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A response to Edgar Allen Beem’s June 23 column, “Lobstermen tilt at whales, windmills,” is necessary since facts have been misrepresented, as when he states that lobster prices are “ exorbitant at $13-18 a pound in some cases.” He expresses that “lobstermen should be getting rich at those prices,” but he fails to specify that, although that may be a retail price, it is not the price that the lobstermen get “off the boat.” That price is significantly lower. Beem also states that “lobstermen should be getting rich at those prices,” overlooking the exorbitant price of bait and other high overhead costs.

Another issue is the reference made to studies that suggest 85 percent of right whales have been entangled in their lifetimes. This may be true, but then Beem alludes to Maine lobstermen “claiming” that they are not responsible for any right whale entanglements.  The fact is that there has been only one known entanglement in Maine waters in 20 years: in 2012 when the whale was disentangled and set free. Fact: Canadian traps have been responsible for the majority of the entanglements in fishing gear.  

Lee Ann Whitney, Portland
Susan Burgess, Chebeague Island