Category Archives: lobster

Brown Pelican Pesticide Ban Success Story and Why This is Relevant to Gloucester Lobstermen and Our Community

California Brown Pelican taking flight El Matador Beach ©Kim Smith 2015 copyBrown Pelican Taking Flight

When I was a young girl my family lived in Southern California for several years. I recall seeing few, if any, brown pelicans at our local beaches. Due to the widespread use of DDT in agriculture, brown pelicans on both the east and west coasts, along with other species of birds, were made nearly extinct. Pelicans incubate their eggs with the skin of their feet, essentially standing on the eggs to keep them warm. DDT caused thinning of the eggshells and when the pelican parents stood on the eggshells, the shells fractured and broke.California Brown Pelican preening ©Kim Smith 2015

Preening Pelicans ~ You can tell that these two are young pelicans because their eyes, usually brown, turn blue during courtship.

During the 1960s brown pelican colonies along the Southern California coast had shrunk by more than 90 percent. For decades, a chemical plant had been discharging thousands of pounds of DDT into Los Angeles sewers. The toxic chemical was ingested by anchovies and other fish consumed by pelicans. The chemical altered the pelican’s calcium metabolism, which caused them to lay eggs with thinner shells. DDT-caused shell thinning also exterminated peregrine falcons in the east, and took a terrible toll on bald eagles and ospreys.

El Matador Beach Brown Pelican habitat ©Kim Smith 2015. JPG

Insulation: After deep diving for fish, pelicans perch on rocks and preen. Pelicans feather’s keep them warm and dry; they do not actually get wet thanks to the oil in their preening gland. The glands secrete oily waxes and fats that they work into their feathers making them wind- and weatherproof, as well as providing insulation from the cold.

As a direct result of Rachel Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring, in 1972 DDT was banned nationwide. The brown pelican has recovered ground and was delisted from the federally endangered species in 2009. Unfortunately, after DDT was banned, two years later Monsanto brought to market their glyphosate herbicide Round Up.

El Matador Beach commorants ©kim Smith 2015

 Brown Pelican Habitat ~ El Matador State Beach

While visiting Liv and Matt, we spotted pelicans everywhere and it was absolutely wonderful to see. They are magnificent birds with an extraordinary life story. Here are several links to learn more about the California brown pelican:

About Pelicans, California Brown Pelicans

El Matador  Beach Pelican ©Kim Smith 2015

Today the lobster industry faces several major threats. Not only are the lobsters stressed from warming ocean waters and a protozoan parasite, but several pesticides used in massive mosquito spraying, including methoprene, malathion, and remethrin are linked to contributing to the collapse of the lobster fishery in the waters off Connecticut and New York. Lobsters are arthropods, which places them in the same phylum classification as mosquitoes and may help explain why they are affected. Lobster landings on Long Island Sound are of particular concern as they have declined from 3.7 million pounds in 1999 to 142,000 pounds in 2011.

Bearing in mind that worse chemicals are often used after specific chemicals are banned, the Maine Lobsterman’s Association is somewhat reluctant at this point to endorse banning specific pesticides until more comprehensive testing is done.

Gloucester lobsterman follow strict conservation guidelines. It would be very interesting to learn what they consider are the reason(s) for the declining population of lobsters in fisheries further south.

El Matador Beach ©Kim Smith 2015El Matador Beach

Overkill: Why Pesticide Spraying for West Nile Virus May Cause More Harm Than Good

Silent Spring

Aaaaand Now It’s Official: Gloucester’s Got The Coolest Jews On The Planet After Building First Ever Lobster Pot Menorah

Get a Load Of Our Jew Buddies Up On Middle Street Rocking The First Ever Lobster Pot Menorah!

Right out there on the bleeding edge of cool- you name another small coastal community with more creative Jews than right here in Gloucester Ma. You can’t!

Read all about it on The Gloucester Clam

Click pic for the larger photos at The Clam

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The Gloucester Fleet Found on the Hard Drive 2008

The Gloucester Fleet Found on the Hard Drive 2008

The “Allison Carol”

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Madhouse Today…

I swear you couldn’t dream up this scene to paint it just the way it was at that very moment when I snapped the shot in between offloading boats.

You couldn’t have dreamed up the clouds or the sun breaking through at just the right angle to lead straight down the harbor to our dock. You couldn’t have dreamed up the lobster boats waiting to offload at just the right perpendicular locations to frame the shot on either side of the lobster boat’s mast that was tied up at the dock. Picture perfect.

Sometimes amid the madness you don’t really have time to take it all in because you’re ass deep in work but that one capture you managed to fire off brings it all back and reminds you that yes indeed, it wasn’t a dream.

Friends, Old and New!

One of my dearest friends, Donna, spent the weekend here in Gloucester with us. I took her for a driving tour around Cape Ann and, at every bend of scenic roadway and charming street corner, she was simply knocked out at how beautiful is our island. Donna is in Massachusetts working on the Disney film, The Finest Hours, which tells the true story of the US Coast Guard’s most daring sea rescue. The film is based on the book of the same name and is set in 1952. Production is taking place all around the South Shore, including the Quincy shipyard, and Chatham, too. The book sounds fascinating and I just ordered my copy from Amazon. Here is the link: The Finest Hours. 

Donna Casey, David Robinson, Lisa Griffiths ©Kim Smith 2014

While touring around we stopped in to see Joey at the dock, and to pick up a second batch of lobsters (Donna thought they were the best she had ever had!), and then on to show her our stunning beaches. We then headed over to Rockport where we surprised an old friend, David Robinson, at his gorgeous gallery Windemere Art and Antiques, located on Rockport’s Main Street. David is the gallery’s owner, jewelry designer, and member of the Boston-based Cars rock band. The beautiful Lisa Griffiths, also known as That Nutty Redhead, was also stopping by the gallery to say hello to Dave. Dave took a break from gallery hours and took us all three out to lunch across the street, conveniently, to Bracketts, where we had an ocean view, delicious lunches, and excellent service. It was a wonderful day spent with friends, old and new, and made me realize once again how very fortunate we are to live on Cape Ann–for the natural beauty found at every turn, and most cherished of all, for our community of friends.

Welcoming Lunch at Passports Restaurant

India, Lyla, Shawna Passports Restaurant Gloucester MA ©Kim Smith 2014Over Labor Day weekend we went with our daughter’s boyfriend, Matt, to Passports for a beautiful lunch. We were greeted by wonderfully friendly, helpful, and super professional India, Lyla, and Shawna.

Passports Restaurant Popovers ©kim Smith 2014 copyAs all who have eaten at Passports know, within a few moments after being seated, guests are immediately served fresh from the oven, piping hot popovers. This is always a welcome treat, and was especially so for Liv and Matt that afternoon as they had been hiking all around Coolidge Reservation earlier in the day.Passports Restuarant Fried Oysters ©Kim Smith 2014

Next we shared a plate of Eric’s fried oysters and without a doubt, I think they are THE BEST FRIED OYSTERS in town! What makes Passport’s oysters so special you may be wondering? Because every single time we go, their fried oysters are fantastically crisp on the outside and sweet-salty fresh oyster perfection on the inside; Passports oysters are never, ever soggy or greasy.

Passports Restaurant Lobster Roll Sald ©Kim Smith 2014We ALL ordered Eric’s fabulous Lobster Salad Roll and it was divine–big chunks of fresh sweet Captain Joe and Sons succulent lobster meat, surrounded by a lovely array of fresh seasonal veggies (mine is pictured, requested without roll).

Thanks Eric, Lyla, India, and Shawna for welcoming Matt and showing him one of the reasons why we love Gloucester!

Phi Kappa Sigma Doing It Big For Rush week Per Usual!

It’s the first week of September and that means the Boys From Phi Kappa Sigma Are Back For Their Rush Week Lobsters

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Past Years-

Posted on September 3, 2013
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Its gotta be a dozen or more years running the men from Phi Kappa Sigma come down to Captain Joe’s for Rush week lobsters.

Tradition. Gotta love it!
If you’re a prospective pledge and you don’t go with PHI KAPPA SIGMA you really need to reevaluate your whole college existence.
Just drop out and become a garbage man already because you’re not college material.
Here they are back in 2008-

Rush Phi Kappa Sigma At MIT!

The boys from Phi Kappa Sigma at MIT come every year for rush week to pick up a ton of lobsters to serve prospective rushees.

I thought MIT was primarily an engineering school but apparently they have their marketing down pretty good too!

Get all the Schooner Fest Scoop & Songs tomorrow morning at 9AM on North Shore 104.9 – And Joey, here’s your answer

Daisy Nell (R) and Capt. Stan

“Curtain Up” host Aurelia Nelson

Tomorrow (Sunday) at 9AM Aurelia Nelson Welcomes Schooner Festival Chair Daisy Nell and Capt. Stan on her North Shore 104.9FM Radio show “Curtain Up”.

Daisy & Stan perform 2 songs and will tell you everything you need to know about next weekend’s Schooner Festival, one of our favorite weekends.  Click here for a complete Schooner Festival Schedule.

And here’s the definitive answer to Joey’s question about the Lobster Bake (from the Schooner Fest website)

Schooner Festival Lobster Bake

Two years ago, local blogger Capt. Joey of GoodMorningGloucester came up with a great idea!  Joey suggested that, in order to get the Gloucester community involved with the Schooner Festival, a community lobster bake should be held during the Festival.

Recognizing good advice, the Festival Committee held the 1st annual Community Lobster Bake in 2013 and it was a huge success!  Check out GoodMorningGloucester to see just how successful the event was!

The Community Lobster Bake will be held again in 2014 on Saturday, August 30, 4:30pm-7:30pm at Maritime Gloucester on Harbor Loop in downtown Gloucester. Enjoy freshly steamed lobster, corn on the cob, and a Virgilio’s roll– all for $15 per person. Relax with your dinner on the slopes of the Fitz Henry Lane lawn while listening to Old Cold Tater & Friends. Also available for sale: hot dogs, hamburgers, cookies, cold sodas & spring water, beer & wine. Tickets available in advance from Maritime Gloucester or at the event.

Way to be, Jack Ass!

I guess for someone, stealing is easier than working for it.  And from kids nonetheless. Allow me to explain.

If you’ve browsed any of my previous posts here on GMG, you’ve probably come to know a few things about me.  You probably know that I’m long winded (does that actually apply to writing?) and you’ve probably gotten to “know” my two young boys….and maybe you’ve learned that they love the ocean.  More than loving it, they work hard at being budding little lobstermen, and they’re pretty passionate about it.

If you haven’t seen it yet, maybe this will help paint the picture

Young and Salty

My boys, along with their three great friends…on our friends’ boat, go lobstering typically twice per week all summer long.  With only ten traps, they certainly don’t do it to make money….they do it because they love it.  And, they do it for Lobsterfest!  Once each summer (maybe twice if we’re lucky)… we gather our families and some of our local friends, and we have a feast to end all feasts. More importantly, we have laugh after laugh, in one of the most picturesque towns I know.  It is, without a doubt, one of our favorite evenings of the entire summer.

We check the tide chart….we check our busy summer schedules…and we pick a day.  This summer…that day was Saturday.

The kids feel tremendous pride that their hard work supplies the Stars of the Show:  The Rockport Harbor Lobsters!  They feel tremendous pride that our guests….friends who have watched them grow, learn, laugh, and cry…gather to enjoy a quintessential summer evening and “oooh and ahhhh” over their bounty! They feel tremendous pride in being such a huge part of such a special tradition.

So, maybe you can imagine our shock and dismay to discover that THE lobsters had been stolen from the water on Friday night.  Holding tank and all.  Gone.  As a friend put it, “It’s like losing your uniform the night before the Big Game.”  The night before Lobsterfest.

I get that maybe the thief wasn’t aware that those lobsters had been slowly gathered by a group of dedicated children…and their two amazing dads.  Two dads who take the time to show those kids how to haul and set their gear.  Two dads who, while they love lobstering with the kids, may actually prefer to cast a few rods, set an anchor at the beach, or play a round of golf on a few more occasions, rather than continuously tend to the traps.  Or maybe they wouldn’t rather do those things, either way, that isn’t the point.

The point is, Stealing is wrong…and I’m pissed.

“The children must be crushed!” you may be thinking.  Well, actually, the children don’t know.  Luckily, those two amazing dads also had the wherewithal to not let the children know that someone had stolen their lobsters.  They would have been beyond devastated.  They would have been hurt.  They probably would have been confused.

Those two amazing dads also didn’t want our guests to know that they had to scramble and buy lobsters in the eleventh hour.  They certainly didn’t want any guests to run out and purchase lobsters themselves….not that any of those guests would have minded!  Lucky also is that Cape Ann is the type of community where friends rally for each other.  Lucky also is that, having lived here forever, those two amazing dads have people who were happy to help them and that getting enough lobsters to feed our friends was possible.

So, Lobsterfest was a giant success.  Those little “lobsterkids” are none the wiser and, while we’re still mad, it would take more than a small time thief (Jack Ass) to ruin a wonderful summer evening with such amazing friends.  Still, shame on them.

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