LobsterI visited a few lobstering towns lately and found that woe prevailed. During the boom of  2004-2006, many lobstermen expanded their equipment and territory and operations. Many new boats were completed. Most were financed with readily available bank debt. There was a great deal of searching for lobsters and the catch went down considerably as did the price, about 20% each. The cost of fuel ate into the already meager profits, and bank credit is no longer available. Thus, a recession in the lobster business, and all activities in towns associated with it. With restaurant business, e.g., down about 25% and many more tag sales and real estate vacancies and for-sale signs. Thus, the lobster business encapsulates what is happening to many other businesses that depended on cheap credit and stable fuel prices. Of course, now that crude has fallen 20% in a few weeks, the situation can reverse, and homeostasis can exert its pervasive pull.

Jeff Watson says:

The Florida commercial fishermen are also in dire straits. Legislation banning gill netting, limits of catches, government regulations, and high fuel costs have contributed to their hardship. The mullet roe market is as volatile as pork bellies, and other markets are in sharp decline. Rising costs and taxes of waterfront property has caused many fish buyers to close shop. Ever adaptable, many fishermen have managed to cling precariously to their trade, much like oysters on a piling. Although many have had to resort to running square grouper, many other fishermen have taken to crabbing as a way to stay connected to the water. Fishing is a way of life, a noble calling, and is unlikely to go away completely.





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