Coils of rope are seen in the town parking lot where lobstermen keep their gear as a lobster boat heads out in a thick fog in Vinalhaven. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

The lobster trap

The plentiful catch that brought wealth to fishing families is at risk, as climate change warms the Gulf of Maine. A way of life is on the line, but lobstermen can't, or won't, imagine another.

Coils of rope are seen in the town parking lot where lobstermen keep their gear as a lobster boat heads out in a thick fog in Vinalhaven. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

About this partnership

Portland Press Herald

No news organization is more invested in the health of the Gulf of Maine and the region’s residents than the Portland Press Herald and The Boston Globe. So, as the gulf’s warming waters pose an increasingly existential threat to Maine’s signature industry, lobster, we joined forces to take a hard look at the climate crisis unfolding on our shores.

We descended on the island of Vinalhaven, one of Maine’s busiest fishing villages, and turned loose reporters, photographers, and videographers from both news organizations to learn firsthand the challenges, stresses, and fears of those facing this uniquely perilous time for lobstering. The problems posed by the warming waters were sometimes subtle — the slow migration of whales and lobsters, the gradual rise in sea levels. The tensions and stakes were glaring. Climate change gravely threatens the nation’s richest fishery and the communities that depend on it.

The result is The Lobster Trap, presented here today. It is a story of a group of Mainers struggling to preserve their way of life in a rapidly changing world. It is also a snapshot of life on the front lines of a monumental crisis, no less than last summer’s western wildfires or the rise of extreme flooding events.

This collaboration was made possible by support from Participant, the company that co-produced the movie “Spotlight” and funds the Globe’s Spotlight Fellowship program. We are grateful for the continued support and hope that you, our readers, find this work illuminating.

Boston Globe Editor Brian McGrory and Portland Press Herald Managing Editor Steve Greenlee

Related Coverage

Credits
  • Reporters: Penelope Overton, Jenna Russell, David Abel
  • Photographers: Jessica Rinaldi and Brianna Soukup
  • Editors: Brendan McCarthy, Scott Allen, Mark Morrow, Steve Greenlee
  • Design: Ryan Huddle, Yiqing Shao, Leah Becerra, Matt Fulton
  • Development: Daigo Fujiwara, John Hancock, Vince Dixon, Todd Dukart
  • Graphics: John Hancock and Vince Dixon
  • Photo editors: William Greene, Michele McDonald, Leanne Burden Seidel
  • Video producer and editor: Caitlin Healy
  • Copy editors: Mary Creane, Michael Bailey, Brian Robitaille
  • Social media: Christina Prignano, Devin Smith, Maddie Mortell, Katherine Lee
  • Analytics & engagement: Karla Ovalle
  • SEO: Cameron Muir
  • Newsletters: LaDonna LaGuerre, Emma Kelley, Marie Princiotto
  • Quality assurance: Jackson Pace