I have been privileged to help design and instruct a “public policy in the commercial fishing industry” course for high school students, along with teacher Steven Schaefer, at The New School, here in Kennebunk.
When Schaefer first approached me about working with him, he wanted the students to hear from real people working in the industry and to learn from the men and women who know the ocean intimately, as only those who navigate it and rely on it to earn their living can. He wanted the students to learn about the side of fishing that you do not see in picturesque summer tourist photos in quaint harbors.
You know the stuff people don’t want to talk about as much – like rough days and close calls at sea, days without catches when you still have to pay for fuel and your boat mate’s wages. The ever rising cost of boat and gear maintenance, upkeep, insurance. The frustration of being told that the days you have to make your living have been cut back or the prices being paid for the fish you harvest have dropped – even though the cost of bait to catch those fish has skyrocketed.