James Beard Award-winning chef, Karen Akunowicz, heads to Spruce Head Harbor, Maine to join …
While I’ve been cutting my teeth as a stern man, my husband has been lobstering recreationally. Last night, I got the chance to go out with my family and enjoy the ride. As with the lobstering industry in general, the regulations for recreational licenses are strict. You’re allowed just five traps and only the license holder can haul and handle the traps. Since my husband has the license, this meant I couldn’t do anything when we went out, except enjoy being on the water with my family on a beautiful late summer evening, listening to the squeals of delight from the children each time a trap came over the side. And of course, I couldn’t resist showing off my newfound knowledge from time to time—as my husband measured to see if a lobster was a keeper, I confidently assured him there was no way and admonished him once for not checking to see if the lobster was male or female.
In order to get a recreational license, you must be a Maine resident, and you must pass a test. I was curious about the test, wondering if my practical knowledge would translate on paper. I was surprised by the length of the test—skimming through the questions, I knew the answers to most, but certainly not all of them. You are not allowed to sell any of the lobsters you catch (much to the dismay of one of my daughters who is building a virtual fortune selling eggs from our chickens and vegetables from our garden!). Alas, you must keep all the lobsters yourself, making you very popular with friends and relatives, who are frequently invited to a supper of summer new shell lobsters!
In our five traps, we came home with three keepers. By the time we got off the water, the light was fading and our children were bleary eyed. We cooked up our catch after the kids were in bed—lobster rolls for lunch tomorrow!