By James M. Acheson
An anthropologist describes the operating international of Maine lobstermen, concentrating on the complicated own community that sustains them.
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Additional info for The lobster gangs of Maine
Even the police are afraid to come into town. " Such informants often back up their statements with specific though apocryphal stories. The implication is, of course, that these incidents always happen in neighboring townsnot their own. Such negative feelings, it should be noted, appear to be directed at people from nearby townships. People from more distant towns rarely interact and hold only the vaguest ideas about one another, The geography of the region helps to promote these feelings of isolation.
Yet on the whole, such stereotypes are misleading. They obscure the fact that the lobster fisherman is caught up in a thick and complex web of social relationships. Survival in the industry depends as much on the ability to manipulate social relationships as on technical skills. In recent years, some social anthropologists have turned their attention to the topic of work and the social organization of industry. It has become apparent that each industry has a set of traditions, rules of behavior and myths about itself.
Lobster fisheries Maine. Title. ) Page v Dedication To Helen, Julie, Jim, Marion, Liz, Katie, and Daniel Page vii Contents List of Illustrations ix Preface xi Introduction 1 1. Cycles 7 2. Kinship and Community 23 3. Harbor Gangs 48 4. Territories 71 5. Tricks of the Trade 84 6. Markets 115 7. Any Port in a Storm 133 8. Theory and Conclusion 142 Appendix. Economic and Biological Benefits of Territoriality 153 Notes 161 Glossary 165 References 169 Index 177 Page ix Illustrations Figures 1 The American Lobster 13 2 One Fisherman's Average Catch, Prices Received, and Days Fished 18 3 A Typical Lobstering Boat 86 4 A Lobster Trap 87 5 Fishing Gear Changes, Northern New England 111 Maps 1 Major Fishing Grounds and Currents, Gulf of Maine 10 2 Lobster Fishing Territories, Central Maine Coast 72 Photographs following page 114 1 Wooden Traps Being Loaded 2 Leaving the Dock with a Small Load of Traps 3 A Lobster Boat in Muscongus Bay Page x 4 Searching the Waters for the First String of Traps 5 Measuring Lobsters from the Catch 6 A Berried, Notch-Tailed Lobster 7 Pulling a Trap over the Rail 8 Loading a Baiting Iron with Redfish Frames 9 Waiting for Another Trap to Come over the Side 10 Loading Herring into a Bait Bag 11 Unloading the Catch at New Harbor Cooperative 12 A Crate of Lobsters Being Pulled from a Car 13 Shooting the Breeze 14 Lobster Buoys Washed Ashore 15 Dipnetting Herring 16 Bringing Fishing Gear down to the Dock 17 Wire Lobster Traps 18 Placing a Crate of Lobsters in a Car 19 Weighing and Packing Lobsters 20 Selling Lobsters 21 President of the Maine Lobstermen's Association Talking with Fishermen 22 House at Pemaquid Falls 23 Inside the Shop at Wallace Shellfish Company Page xi Preface This book evolved from several different field projects that spanned fifteen years and had different sponsors and aims.