“We are making our own market. With all the restaurants shut down we have to. Business has been hurting. Most fishermen are doing the same thing to survive this pandemic,” said Chad Souchek, a lobstermen, suddenly turned salesman as well this morning from his post on Commercial Street – the back of a truck. Business was good despite the cold weather and cloudy skies.
Souchek, a sternman, said many of the Portland lobster fleet have now relocated to Gloucester, MA. to take advantage of the scallop season. “The Gloucester community has been very welcoming to the fishing community,” said Jed Spears fishing boat owner. Lobsters are so popular with the local community that the two quickly sold out of them. So Chad referred lobster customers to a friend of his, Stu Jones, owner of the 38 ft. Ann Elizabeth. The boat is docked across the street at the nearby Merrill’s Wharf, in the parking lot in front of Pierce Atwood.
Jones told mhn.com: “We are working together to meet the local demand for seafood that has been created by the shutdown of restaurants.” Jones, 36, has been lobstering since he was 14 years old with two uncles. He lobsters around Cape Elizabeth today as he did when he was growing up, partly because he knows the waters so well there. ” We are out here as long as there is a local demand or until dealers start giving us a decent price. There is no price now. This is a win-win for everyone. Customers get fresh product at a good price and we get to unload product,” Jones said. “There is no middleman now.”
In between each customer, Jones rubs his hands down with hand sanitizer. He asks customers if they want some too. Most decline his offer. “We need to do this,” he says referring to his frequent use of hand sanitizer. “The local demand has been great.” We really appreciate it,” he said to customers as they left the Wharf.
“I have no idea when we’ll be able to open. Originally, we thought it would be Mother’s Day, May 8th. That ship has sailed,” said Portland resident Richard Hill. His wife, Sue, is the founder of the 38 year old Island Artisans, a boutique gift shop in Bar Harbor, after purchasing three lobsters from Jones on Merrill’s Wharf. “We are now hoping for an end of June opening,” Hill said.
Mainers helping Mainers.