Story at a glance

  • Virginia Oliver began harvesting lobsters off the coast of Maine a decade prior to World War II when she was only 8 years old.
  • Oliver, now 101, continues to trap lobsters in her home state, making her the state’s oldest lobster fisher.
  • Oliver sets out on the water off the coast of Rockland, Maine, to watch over her lobster traps alongside her 78-year-old son, Max.

Virginia Oliver began harvesting lobsters off the coast of Maine a decade prior to World War II when not many women were involved in the profession. Now, at the age of 101, Oliver continues to trap lobsters in her home state, making her the state’s oldest lobster fisher.

“I’ve done it all my life, so I might as well keep doing it,” Oliver told The Associated Press.

Oliver first started harvesting lobsters when she was 8 years old. Her father was a lobster dealer and she enjoyed accompanying him out to sea on harvesting trips. At that time, lobsters only went for about 28 cents per pound. Today, the average lobster can go for 15 times that price.


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Her work remains a family affair. Oliver sets out on the water off the coast of Rockland to watch over her lobster traps on her late husband’s boat — lovingly named “Virginia” after her — alongside her 78-year-old son, Max. 

About once a week, in an unspoken tradition, Oliver will prepare herself a lobster dinner, still enjoying the fruits of her labor all these years later. 

“I like doing it, I like being along the water,” she said. “And so I’m going to keep on doing it just as long as I can."


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Published on Sep 16, 2021