When final we noticed Joe Mondello in early April, he was standing in entrance of a mountain of 550 traps —Mount Mondello — that have been dry-dock casualties of Massachusetts’ choice to shut its waters to industrial lobstering on March 5.
The closure, enacted to assist mitigate the potential of gear entanglements with endangered North Atlantic proper whales migrating by Massachusetts waters, started March 5 and ended at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
Mondello, as with many lobstermen at docks round Gloucester and the remainder of Cape Ann, wasted little time getting again to work.
The 71-year-old, flying solo on Friday, was on the water by 6:30 a.m. The climate — shiny, late-spring sunshine, little wind, cornflower blue skies and the primary actual warmth of 2021 — was if the lobstering gods have been celebrating the beginning of the season, as properly.
By 10 a.m., Mondello, utilizing frozen redfish heads, had baited the primary load of about 30 traps and set them off the Again Shore from his 37-foot Tully IV. Then it was again in to the Everett R. Jodrey State Fish Pier to renew his one-man manufacturing line earlier than transferring over to set within the western fringe of Gloucester Harbor.
“It was very nice on the market at present,” Mondello stated. “I am going to set about 50 at present altogether and I in all probability will not haul them till subsequent week.”
Tied up behind him, Sam Harrington was equally engaged on the Woman Marie. However this wasn’t actually opening day for him. At the very least not in state waters.
“I went fishing yesterday out in federal waters,” Harrington stated. “Fortunately, I nonetheless have my federal allow. Although they’re going to in all probability shut (these waters) down subsequent.”
Each Mondello and Harrington stated probably the most placing picture from the primary day again was the unblemished nature of the water floor, a pristine sheet after the mandated removing of buoys, strains and equipment through the closure.
“It was type of humorous going on the market and never seeing any buoys alongside the best way,” Harrington stated.
And so it went across the waterfront.
Capt. Steve Douglass, skippering his Cape Ann Harbor Excursions boat Woman Jillian, stopped on the docks on the Solomon Jacobs Touchdown off Harbor Loop to select up a few passengers who paid for the privilege of serving to him — or perhaps simply watching him ‚ set his 10 traps. Additionally aboard, his two beagles, Bella and Tallinn.
“Glad to listen to they opened it up,” Douglass stated. “Good day for it.”
The state Division of Marine Fisheries determined early Thursday night to finish the closure, efficient Friday, after its aerial survey flight through the day detected no North Atlantic proper whales in Massachusetts waters.
So, for lobstermen, one hardship down. However the non-pandemic novelty of 2021 will proceed.
Lobstermen nonetheless should reconcile themselves with new gear rules regarding the width and power of their new breakaway strains, in addition to the painted identification markets on their buoys and features.
However for today, with the solar in full bloom and, lastly, some water work to do after too lengthy on terra firma, nobody even bothered to complain about it. It could hold.
Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comply with him on Twitter at @SeanGDT