IMAGE COURTESY OF THE JESUP MEMORIAL LIBRARY

Book questions Maine lobster fishery’s future



BAR HARBOR — Author Christopher White will explore Maine’s lobster industry at an author talk and book signing for “The Last Lobster: Boom or Bust for Maine’s Greatest Fishery?” at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, June 21, at 7 p.m.

In the last five years, Maine lobstermen have annually caught more than 120 million pounds, six times what was caught annually in the 1980s.

“The Last Lobster” is a detective story, where scientists and fishermen explore what is causing this increase in lobsters off the Maine coast. The two theories that stand out are a sudden lack of predators and a recent wedge of warming waters, a consequence of climate change that may disrupt the reproductive cycle. However, these same factors that may have stimulated the boom could prove to be its undoing. The range of lobsters is moving northward, as it is for many marine species affected by climate change.

Over the course of a year, White followed three lobster captains — Frank, Jason and Julie — as they hauled and set thousands of traps off the coast of Stonington and fought a warming ocean, volatile prices and rough weather to keep their livelihood afloat. “The Last Lobster” is a celebration of the lobstermen of Maine and a warning that the recent boom and the possible coming bust could be stark lessons for all of us who live in a world of climate change.

“‘The Last Lobster’ is “an in-depth look at the state’s most significant fishery […] Lobsters are intrinsically linked to the soul of Maine, and White’s thoughtful chronicle gives both the highly desired marine crustaceans and the people who seek them their due,” wrote “Booklist.”

White is a science writer and naturalist who has written numerous books, including “Skipjack: The Story of America’s Last Sailing Oystermen” and “The Melting World: A Journey across America’s Vanishing Glaciers.” His articles have appeared in “Audubon,” The Baltimore Sun, The New Mexican, “National Geographic” and “Exploration.” Early in his career, White was a staff biologist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, specializing in maritime issues.

He also served as executive director of the Mare Nostrum Foundation, a Belgium-based ocean policy organization. He grew up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Visit christopherwhitebooks.com.

Books will be on sale that night courtesy of co-sponsor Sherman’s Books. The talk is co-sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. Contact the Jesup at 288-4245 or [email protected].