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I remember my dad telling me when I graduated from college and was at the crossroads of either coming down the dock or continuing my education to become an Economics professor. He said- “Joey if you come down the dock, there’s always gonna be fish and they’re always gonna need a place to offload them.” Never back then could he or I imagine how much they would have hyper-consolidated the industry and reduce the number of fishermen in our harbor by 80%.
So in the middle of composing this post Pete Mondello pulled up to load bait to go lobstering. Pete doesn’t have any fishing permits any more and he tells me the story of what his father Joe the cobbler said to him- “Pete if everything goes to shit you’ll still be able to go catch some fish for dinner.” Never did he dream back then that if he landed fish he’d get thrown in jail.
What our town was built on- the spirit of the independent fisherman who could get in the business by filling out a sheet of paper for a permit and get out of it as much work as he wanted to put in. Now all that is over. No young guy can afford the millions it will take to get started up in this business as a fisherman and within our lifetime we will see the complete transformation into few large fishing conglomerates from hundreds of fishing families supporting thousands.