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Lobster Institute

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Lobstering Basics - History

You are invited to scroll through an historic timeline of the lobster industry in Maine (below). Along the way, the Lobster Institute highlights milestones of the American lobster industry from its start in the 1600’s to present day. You’ll find out when the first lobster catch was recorded and learn what a lobster “smack” is. You’ll read about the first lobster fishing regulations and what the catch has been like for the past fifty years.

The Lobster Institute hopes you enjoy learning about these milestones of Maine’s lobster industry. This historical timeline was put together to compliment our ongoing oral/video history project.

As part of this project, we have been videotaping interviews with some of the more seasoned lobstermen and others in lobstering communities in order to capture and retain the spirit of the people and families who have made lobstering in Maine a way of life through the generations. Their relationships with the sea, their boats and traps, and the lobster itself have, quite without their intent and beyond their control, created legend and lore that have made lobstering a cultural icon for Maine. The people who work the coastal fisheries are, in essence, a community unto themselves. Recording the stories of today’s most veteran lobstermen and their families will strengthen and preserve a special piece of this unique Maine community’s culture and rich maritime tradition. Once completed, the project promises to educate, enlighten, and entertain.

The Lobster Institute is available to present this historical timeline to classes or groups – complete with video clips and historic photos. For more information about this project or other research, educational or outreach activities of the Lobster Institute, please contact us.

Milestones of the Maine Lobster Industry: An Historical Timeline

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Contact Information

Lobster Institute
5722 deering hall room 114
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-2751 | Fax: (207) 581-2744E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System