Fishermen remembered

By Edward D. Murphy and Matt Byrne, Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND — Arnold “Joe” Nickerson and Chris Pinkham were remembered last Friday as devoted family men and hardworking, experienced members of Maine’s commercial fishing community.

The two men were fishing aboard Nickerson’s boat, the Hayley Ann, about 50 miles southeast of Portland last Thursday when the vessel is believed to have either capsized or quickly flooded. They did not have time to make a radio call, although the boat’s automatic emergency beacon apparently floated free and sent a distress signal. Both men were dead when a fellow fisherman pulled them from the water.

Nickerson, 60, was a well-known and widely respected fishing boat captain. He lived in Arundel with his wife, Sharon, and had a young grandchild. His boat was named after his grown daughter, according to a friend.

Pinkham, a longtime fisherman who sported a thick beard, leaves a wife and two young daughters in Boothbay Harbor.

Burt Jongerden, general manager of the Portland Fish Exchange, told the Portland Press Herald no one knows yet what happened — it will be up to the Coast Guard to investigate — but he said he suspects that whatever occurred, it happened fast.

“It must have happened really quick, because they didn’t have a chance to get their life suits on and they didn’t have a chance to get into the life raft,” he said. “It wasn’t really that choppy. It was pretty low seas. And there wasn’t a whole lot of wind, either, so it’s a tough one. A lot of people just can’t understand why this happened.”

Nickerson was praised as “an experienced, successful fisherman” with “a calm and constructive approach to problem solving,” by Patrick Kelleher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “He was a first-rate fisherman, and an excellent representative for Maine’s fishing community.”

Online fundraising pages have been set up for both families. Links to both are on the Maine Fishermen’s Forum website,

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