Maine Coast Fishermen's Association's Ben Martens talks with Alan Tracy, CEO of Vessel Services. Vessel Services has a long history of supplying Maine boats with ice, fuel, and gear. In this Covid-19-free Podcast, learn a little bit about how Vessel Services was formed, what they are doing to evolve, and the optimism Alan feels about the future of fishing in Maine.
An excerpt from Ben's interview with Alan:
Our plant was built, at its max, to make 150 tons of ice a day, which is an enormous amount of ice, which is a large ice plant. We can store in our bin 300 tons.
And there was a time, before my time, in the '80s and '90s when we would sell all of the ice that we could make. Long-term employees here tell stories about starting at six in the morning, having a clipboard and if you weren't on the clipboard, you were not going to get ice.
This is when we had the big boats. The Katahdin and such, hundred-foot boats, fishing out of Maine. And we were also doing corn trucks and herring trucks. It was another time. So in those times, we would sell 225,000 tons of ice in a year, even upwards of that. That was when Maine's groundfish landings were tens and tens of millions of pounds of fish annually.
Now we're at two and a half million pounds of groundfish a year. When I started, it was five million pounds of fish a year that was going through our fish exchange and at that time, everyone used to say, this is as low as it can go. It can't go any lower. And then it was cut in half.
So we've gone down, too, we've gone as low as 5,000 tons a year...