At 101, she continues to fish for lobster at sea, and she does not intend to stop – West-France evening edition

By Joseph PREZIOSO (Agence France-Presse)

101-year-old Virginia Oliver of America is Maine’s oldest professional lobster fisherman. The energy of the centenary commands respect. And she has no plans to retire at all.

(Map: Ouest-France)

101-year-old American Virginia Oliver has been fishing for lobster off the coast of Maine in the northeastern United States for over nine decades, and she seems unwilling to retire. The 100-year-old is the oldest professional lobster fisherman in Maine, if not around the world, according to local historians.

Three days a week, Virginia sets sail with her 78-year-old son, Max, who helps her operate the boat her late husband named in her honor. ” I will do [cela]… until my death, affirms the indefatigable fisherwoman. People say to me: why are you going? Because I want it. I am old enough to be my own boss. “

Virginia Oliver and her son Max survey lobster traps off Rockland in Maine waters. (Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP)
Virginia Oliver’s boat in Spruce Head harbor near Rockland. (Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP)

“The Lobster Lady”

Her friends nickname her “Ginny”, and the others “the lobster lady”. She has always lived in Rockland, a small town in Maine, and still lives on the street where she was born.

“Ginny is awesome, says David Cousens, former president of the Maine Lobster Fishermen’s Association, a profession he practices himself. As far back as I can remember, Ginny has always fished, obviously ”, he declares.

At 3:30 a.m., Ginny is already up and, at 5 a.m. sharp, she’s on her boat, with her son. The duo have several hundred traps, and work as a team to harvest the precious crustaceans. Max hoists the traps on the boat, while Ginny measures the lobsters and rings them.

Max Oliver, 78, helps his mother to cross the pontoon. (Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP)
Virginia Oliver, nicknamed “The Lobster Lady,” is a local celebrity in Maine. (Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP)


Dressed in her fishing gear, boots and rubber gloves, the energetic 100-year-old inspects the lobsters one by one to make sure they meet the regulatory size, put in place to protect the species’ reproduction and at the same time the resources of the region.

She even sometimes occupies the role of captain of the boat, but avoids taking the helm when there is too much fog. “She never stops, assure Max. She’s always moving, always busy. Sometimes it tires me just thinking about it ”, he admits. At the end of the day, the lobsters are brought to a cooperative, which allows the two fishermen to get a better price.

It is not tomorrow that the “lady with lobsters” will swap her boat and her shellfish for a peaceful retired life: she says she has not planned to stop her activity.

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