VIDEO: Lobster profits boost Maine boatbuilders

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Larger lobster profits in Maine are boosting the state’s boatbuilding industry.

People who work in Maine's lobster industry have been celebrating after what many say was a good year.

Some lobstermen said they actually caught fewer lobsters than in the previous year but that prices were a dollar a pound higher, which made up for any reduction in catch.

The higher incomes mean that after a number of slow years for boatbuilders, fishermen are once again buying new boats, according to Portland NBC affiliate WCSH.

Holland's Boat Shop in Belfast said several new boats have already gone out the door and others are under construction. Owner Glenn Holland, who started the business 42 years ago, said lobster boat orders declined starting about 2004, and then sank to the bottom during the recession. Holland said he and other boatbuilders had a hard time during those years and some builders went out of business.

"Oh, it was slow here at that time. We'd have one boat, finish it, and luck would have it, another would be ordered at that time," he said.

Fishermen said two good years is giving people the confidence to improve their equipment, including their boats. Holland and his wife, Cathy, who have run the business together since it started, said it feels good to have a backlog of boat orders again.

"I'd rather lay awake at night wondering how I'm going to get it all done than wondering what I'm going to do next," he said.

Holland's Boat Shop has a reputation as one of the top builders on the Maine coast. The business also builds pleasure boats modeled after the same hull design used for the workboats.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources usually releases statistics on the annual lobster catch close to March 1 to coincide with the annual Maine Fishermen's Forum.


Maine Boatbuilders Show opens tomorrow

In its second year in a new location, the Maine Boatbuilders Show opens tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Portland Sports Complex. Sail and powerboats, plus engines and accessories will all be on display.