It’s been four decades since Terry Rossiter first took to the sea to fish for lobster.
Back then, the 13-year-old Rossiter was part of the crew on an Alma lobster boat named Leona Mae. It didn’t take too long for the teenager to decide that hunting for lobster on the giant tides of the Bay of Fundy was how he’d like to spend his life.
Today, the 55-year-old is captain of his own lobster boat, the Rant & Rave. He’s owned the boat since the 1980s and says that Fleet Launch might be the most exciting time of the year.
Rossiter is already prepping his boat for the launch weeks before the event, working with his crew to repair traps, coil lines and ensure that everything will go smoothly on that special morning.
Although he’s participated in the launch for decades, Rossiter says the event is still special. There’s always an air of excitement on the wharf when the fleet is about to take off for the first lobster fishing day of the season.
“Everybody will be all hyped up for the launch,” he says, including the crew who work for a percentage of the catch. What they earn depends on how many lobsters they catch.
The start of fall season is even more exciting because it coincides with some of the best lobstering of the year with large numbers of lobsters pulled in those first few days. As the season progresses into December, fewer and fewer lobsters make their way into the fishermen’s traps.
Some 10 boats will be participating in this year’s Fleet Launch. More boats call Alma their home but many launch a bit later in the season as their lobstering licenses are for different areas.
Rossiter says boats are allowed to carry 300 traps, all baited with herring or redfish. A captain and three crew members are aboard each boat to set the traps, lowering them 100 to 200 feet in the bay.
When the traps are pulled again within a few days, there will hopefully be a number of lobsters in each. The captain and crew will then sort through the lobsters, keeping only the ones that meet the minimum size limit. The traps are finally rebaited and reset.
The cycle will continue until the fall lobster season ends Dec. 31. It will begin again in the spring for the second season.
Rossiter says he lives for lobster season.
“I just love fishing,” he explains. “And owning a lobster boat is like running a small business. I’m my own boss and it’s even better because I’m outside on the water.”