Who: Joseph Branin
Family: Married, two daughters, one son
What he does: General manager of Belford Seafood Co-op for nearly 20 years.
How many fishermen in the co-op: There are 18 to 20 boats active in the Belford fishing fleet, and some 50 families make their living there.
How does the co-op work: Fishermen bring in their haul, and the fish are then sent to a market, and the fishermen are paid according to the price the fish is selling for that day.
“It all sells. You just never know what price you’re going to get for it. If there’s a lot of that species in the market, you’re going to get a lowball price. If it’s something less plentiful, you’ll get a good price,” Branin says.
How he got there: Branin started selling bait and gas at a dock in the Highlands when he was 12 years old. The dock was owned by the Cottrell family, who not only had bait and fuel businesses but also fishing boats, so when Branin graduated high school, he would go out with them on their fishing boats.
But it was the 1960s in Highlands, a time when he says lobster fishing was hot. He worked with the Cottrell’s until about 1974, when he bought his own boat, a lobster boat from Montauk, Long Island.