A conversation with Therese Sauvageau, lobsterwoman of Beverly, MA, and delegate to the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) board of directors, on her fifty years of lobstering. –Editor
BEVERLY, MA – “Everything was just simpler then,” says Therese Sauvageau, who started her career as a ten-year-old hanging out at the docks.
“And less expensive, too. A lobster permit was $10.
“I was like a wharf rat. I lived down the street from the docks. They thought I was a boy,” she recalls.
“They called me ‘Ralph.’ I would reel nets and bait tub trawls. I’d get bait from that and someone would give me a (wooden) trap with a hole in it. I’d fix broken traps, (fish with them) and bring back large lobsters.”
Her first boat was a wooden rowboat that she took out into the bay. She graduated, she said, to a 10’ skiff, and then a 12’ skiff, and then, by the time she was 20, a 22’ lobster boat, with no cabin.
“It had a canvas over the front, so you were out in the weather. And I’d go out in all kinds of weather,” she recalled.
“The guys would want to go in, but they’d say, ‘We can’t go in, she’s still out here.’ “…
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