Emails from Kevin Mellow to Nick Darke 2001
I was surprised to get a call about a trap tag floating so far.I have been
lobster fishing since 1984.I still have traps with those older tags even
though i sold the Audrey May in 1995,my new boat the Ocean Hunter is a 45′
fiberglass with a detroit diesel engine.Most of those tags are attached to
the traps with stainless steel hog rings,some were put on wood traps(which i
don’t use anymore) with copper nails,and a few were put on styrofoam bouys.I
would be interested to know if the tag is flat or has small pieces protruding
from the bottom,it might help me to estimate when it was lost.We also put the
long thin loop tags which are issued by the state so we can only fish up to
I have been a fisherman since 1984.Most of the time i have lobster
fished,currently with 15 or30 trap trawls with bouys on each end.I have also
tub trawled for codfish,dragged for bay scallops,flounder,water jet dredged
for surf clams and quahogs,gillnetted for cod and tautog.The government has
started to limit what you can fish for by what you have been doing in the
past few years so i am mostly limited to lobsters and dredging clams and
quahogs.I hope to here back from you,best wishes and good fishing in the new
Sorry i sent a reply put forgot to tell you where i was from.Westport,
Massachusetts.It is about 50 miles south of Boston.Most of my fishing is done
south of Marthas Vineyard island in between 1fathom and 45 fathoms of water.
Unfortunately it’s not that organized over here.In Massachusetts your
fishing number is the last four digits of your nine digit social security
number which everyone is given at birth.It is possible that several persons
could have the same last four digits.The orange tags are not required by law
as the long thin ones are.You must have your number in the trap,but you can
burn or cut it in.The orange tags are the quickest way to put your number in
at seventeen cents apiece.These tags must all float your way because i can’t
say i’ve ever found any on the beach that weren’t in a trap that washed
up.With the way that the price of lobsters is going over here there might be
more money in finding tags and selling them back to their owners.
The first year that Massachusetts issued tags was 1999.The long thin
tags like are used in Maine and Canada will be used by all lobstermen
shortly.I attached a scan of the zones for the northeast United States and
put my new tag in also.Where i put the arrow(where i live)is the town,port of
Westport,Mass.,where the circle is below it is the general area where i
fish(also where the flat tag you found would have come from.)The first four
#’s on the tag are my license # issued by the state,the federal # is
different and not on the tag.The fifth # is the zone you can fish in(2) then
MA is the state,00 is the year.Lobster is the fishery.The tags are only used
in a few fisheries right now.(scup,seabass,lobster).
As the laws are now i can fish in zones 2,2-3 overlap and 3,but not in
any other zone.If you only fish in 3 you can fish 2000 pots.If you fish in
any other zone besides 3 you must go by the more restrictive measures.I fish
in zone 2 so i am allowed up to but not over 800 to fish in my three
registered zones.I fish 720 pots so i can haul 360 a day or when i go to haul
them all it takes 40 hours,with about 6 hours rest in the middle.
The state sends you a certificate telling you how many tags you may
purchase,at 17cents each.You must put new ones on every year and most
fisherman leave the old ones right on the trap.I am sending the scan of the
chart with the microft word (rtf)let me know if you get it,it was on page 2
on my download.Good luck.
I enjoyed talking with you and Simon on Friday.I sent 4 pictures, if you don’t
get them all let me know and i will send them one at a time.For the offshore
lobster traps we use the orange aluminum poles with the red ball attached on
each end.For the inshore 15 trap trawls we use the smaller plastic poles with
a small bouy on one side and the double bouy on the other side.The pole with
the bouy on top is a quahog bullrake that i use from my small boat.You can
see the tags as they are put in the traps now.I use stainless rings to hold
them in so i doubt any more will be floating your way,although i can toss a
few over the side if you like!
Best of luck with your health
Just listened to the tape.Was great!Heard it twice then gave it to my
parents”they are proud of me”also saw one of your books on internet and
bought it,thank you very much,i live near the ocean and will think about
wrecking on some days,sounds interesting,best of luck,stay in touch!
Yes another boat that was out of Westport,He sold it to another Westport fisherman,we must have a direct path with all the junk that floats out of here to Cornwall,talked to the warden today in Westport he was a crewman on the LaureL back in the 1980″s he got a kick out of heaing one of the tags floated to England.Catch you later.
I can’t read all the tags but 2 more of those are from Westport,the Laure L and the Broadbill,our old telephone area code was 617,changed to 508,I know the persons that owned both boats although the Laure L no longer fishes.Well i have to go,it’s 3:30 going fishing.Catch up with you later.
Sorry to hear you have suffered a stroke.Hope you are feeling better.I have looked on the Beaccombers website from time to time.Wondered how you were and why i hadn’t heard from you.Yes i could go on BBC,shouldn’t be a problem,just remind me a little ahead of time,just turned 40 and i forget things now!Fishing has been way off this year,prices dropped $1 since Sept.11 attack.I was out fishing that day and watching tv(i have a 5″ TV on boat,along with a computer that tracks boat and shows where all my traps are)and couldn’t believe what i saw.Americans all appreciate we have Great Britain as our #1 friends through thick and thin,just wanted to tell you that it is always on the news how much your country stands by us.Can’t wait to hear from you,take care of yourself.