Enterprising New Englander brings jobs back with lobster plant

(CBS News) - With both presidential candidates arguing over how to create jobs, one enterprising New Englander has already done it with lobster boats and family - and he's only 23 years old.

As Kyle Murdoch can tell you, the perfect Maine lobsters weigh about a pound-and-a-half. Too big or too small, and they have to be thrown back.

It's all about preservation. But Dan Murdoch, Kyle's uncle and a fisherman, says it's not the lobsters that are in danger - it's the lobstermen.

"We have seen people go out of business, we have seen people give it up and say this just doesn't work for me," Dan said.

A typical boat needs to pull in about $1,000 a day just to break even.

"We have plenty of lobsters, but the markets aren't there for the lobster that we have and it's really hard to get rid of them."

Lobster is a perishable product. Anything that can't be sold immediately is cut up and frozen. Ninety percent of that is bought by Canadian companies, at rock bottom prices.

"The real problem is it gets branded as 'Maine lobster product of Canada,' which is just ridiculous." said Kyle, Dan's nephew.

So ridiculous that Kyle dropped out of college to buy a processing plant, hoping to bring jobs back to St. George, Maine.

"The thing that made me want to do it the most I think was the fact that nobody thought I could or should do it," Kyle said.

With no prior business experience, Kyle convinced investors and the community to fund his seafood company.

It opened two weeks ago with 25 employees, including his mother, Winnie.

"He wants to do what's right for everybody, the guys and gals who work here and the lobstermen," Winnie said as she worked.

Because he cuts out transportation costs, Kyle can pay more per pound that the processors who have to ship to Canada.

Local fishermen like his uncle make money, and he gets up to 40,000 pounds of fresh Maine lobsters to process and ship each day.

"He'll make a profit. The fisherman will make a profit. People will be employed here, and that's the important part," a local fisherman said.

And the plant is still hiring, adding 20 much-needed jobs to an industry struggling against the economic tide.

  • Terrell Brown

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