410. That's the number of little bits of vinyl coating from lobster traps I found on February 19. All picked from a thin unfrozen line at the back of the foreshore at Curtis Cove, Biddeford, Maine:
We consumers demand "cheap" food, "cheap" everything. In the 1970s, plastic-coated lobstering gear became readily available. Seeming cheap & effficient, Maine lobstermen had no choice. They had to start using it. Those who didn't, soon became ex-lobstermen, pushed out of a competitive business by downward pressures.
See more about the issue of plastic fishing gear in the Gulf of Maine at my Portland Press Herald blog "Undercurrents." A brand-new article on this topic posted today!