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Long ago lobsters were so plentiful that Native Americans used them to fertilize their fields and to bait their hooks for fishing In colonial times lobsters were considered poverty food They were harvested from tidal pools and served to children to prisoners and to indentured servants who exchanged their passage to America for seven years of service to their sponsors In Massachusetts some of the servants finally rebelled They had it put into their contracts that they would not be forced to eat lobster more than three times a week Until the early 1800s lobstering was done by gathering them by hand along the shoreline Lobstering as a trap fishery came into existence in Maine around 1850 Today Maine is the largest lobster-producing state in the nation Though the number of lobstermen has increased dramatically the amount of lobsters caught has remained relatively steady In 1892 2600 people in the Maine lobster fishery caught 7983 metric tons in 1989 6300 Maine lobstermen landed 10600 metric tons of lobster Smackmen first appeared in Maine in the 1820s because of increased demand for lobsters from the New York and Boston markets Smackmen were named after their boats a well smack Smacks were small sailing vessels with a tank inside the boat that had holes drilled into it to allow seawater to circulate The smacks were used to transport live lobsters over long distances Lobsters are crustaceans hard-shelled animals with segmented bodies and jointed legs People around the world prize lobsters for their tasty white meat Great quantities of these animals are harvested from the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean each year The American lobster is commercially important for the delicious meat in its claws and tail This species belongs to a group of lobsters known as clawed lobsters Spiny lobsters get their name from the sharp spines on their shells Lobsters are also important as seafood They lack claws
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