Interviewee:Bob Hessler

Role: Manager of Maine Shellfish Company

Date of Interview:5/4/04

Collection: Ellsworth High School - Maine

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Bob Hessler is Assistant General Manager of Maine Shellfish Company, a buyer and wholesale supplier of seafood based in Ellsworth, Maine. He is optimistic about the future of the lobster and fishing industries in Maine and says, “I hope that we take good enough care of our coast, and manage our natural species well enough so that we will be harvesting clams and lobsters and mussels and cod and halibut and tuna fifty years from now.”

Transcript: “Maine Shellfish, the role that they have in the fishing industry is multifaceted. We're a wholesale supplier to restaurants and institutions, we are a buyer of a number of species that are caught locally, so we try to provide a steady market for those fishermen and those species. I can tell you that it's a very difficult business. You're dealing with a perishable product, and if things are in tight supply then you'll probably do a little bit better than when there's too much. In other words, if there's more fish than people want to eat and you know it's only going to be good for a certain period of time, then that's bad for someone who's left holding the fish, whereas if I can sell everything that I have and there might be just enough to go around, then I'm certainly in a better situation that way.

We get almost all of our groundfish, the haddock and flounder and what have you, from either Boston or Portland. I think that haddock tends to be our biggest seller. There's a tremendous demand. It's a regional thing, and Maine people like to have haddock versus cod. If you go south of Cape Cod the preferences change and you have more cod consumed, and you go just a little bit further south and everyone's eating flounder. I think that tastes have branched out, but that because so many people come to Maine to have Maine seafood, haddock and stapes that we catch in Maine are the things that we sell the most of.”

Photograph by Nedral

To read Bob's full transcript, click here.