We recently sat down with Bill Coppersmith - a Maine lobsterman who’s lobster has graced the plates of many of our happy customers - to discuss the lobstering process and what it means to be a Maine Lobsterman.
“We are a major food source, wild caught with no chemicals added. We are the foundation of working waterfronts….we look at bad weather and ask, “Is that all you got?”It was 40 years ago, when Bill Coppersmith first set sail for what would become a lifetime of gratifying work as a lobsterman. Bill's love of boats and the ocean inspired him to dive into the industry, starting out with an unpaid apprenticeship as a sternman on a lobster boat for two years just to learn the ropes of lobstering.
Now an experienced lobsterman, Bill’s typical day during the busy “new shell” lobster season runs from 3:00AM to 6:00PM, six days a week - with Bill being out on his boat by 4:00AM. Harvesting lobster with respect to sustainability is an important part of his process, so Bill follows best practices such as using biodegradable vents on his traps that lobsters can get through should a trap get lost; carefully measuring each catch to ensure any lobsters that are brought to market measure within strict limits set to avoid harvesting juveniles or female breeding lobsters; and marking the tails of egg bearing females before putting them back into the sea to alert other fishermen/women to the female’s fertile status (to help keep our lobster population high, fertile female lobsters are always placed back into the ocean).
Like many active lobstermen in Maine, Bill is a member of the Lobster 207 Association, which is Maine’s only lobstering union and the first, and only lobster company in the world to be Fair Trade Certified™. Lobster 207 is committed to quality, sustainability, and connecting customers with working Maine lobstermen, so folks can purchase fresh lobster directly from the Stewards of the Sea.
“For me, (being part of Lobster 207 and their Certified Fair Trade program) is about being recognized as a harvester that enjoys making a living in this industry, and wants it to be inherited for generations to come,” says Bill.
When it comes to the importance of the Maine fishing industry as a whole, Bill notes, “The fishing industry shows the strength of an independent group of people. We are a major food source, wild caught with no chemicals added. We are the foundation of working waterfronts.”
And on a lighter note about Maine fishermen, Bill shares, “We look at bad weather and ask, “Is that all you got?”
While quality, sustainability and the future of the industry are important to Bill, his favorite lobstering memories come from the days he spent with his two sons out on his boat lobstering - something his boys did from the time they could walk through high school. Now all grown-up, and with their own successful businesses, Bill’s sons still fondly recall their days spent working hard lobstering with their dad.
“My sons tell (people),‘You don’t know hard work, till’ you’ve worked on my father’s lobster boat!’” says Bill.
We’re fortunate to be able to work with Bill Coppersmith, and other like minded Maine lobstermen who share our commitment to providing fresh, sustainably sourced Maine lobster to customers all over America, while supporting an industry that holds so much heritage and promise for our state.
Did all of this talk about Maine lobster make you hungry? Check out our popular wild caught lobster specials, brought to you straight from our docks to your doorstep.