ADDISON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Lobsterman Adrian Batson could not believe it when a friend called him saying that one of his buoys was found more than 2,500 miles away from his boat in Eastern Harbor.
Batson said he has experienced a lot in his more than four decades as a lobsterman, but nothing quite like this.
“It’s not all play. That’s for sure,” he said as he scrubbed one of his more than 600 buoys to be repainted.
The design on the buoy found in France he said is old—from as many 15 years ago.
"That’s how I identify and know mine. Each and everybody has their own color,” Batson said
In this case, it was not the design, but the ID number that helped members of the ‘Lost at Sea’ Facebook group track the buoy to Batson.
The man who posted the photo from Brest France, said he often finds gear and debris from Maine and other states in the Northeast.
"Everyone has to be careful to the ocean,” Gilbert Mellaza told NEWS CENTER.
Mellaza said he worries about the impact it could have on the environment.
“Yes. It's an international problem for the North Atlantic. A lot of trash comes from Canada, Maine and Massachusetts,” he said.
Batson said he and his fiancé communicated with Mellaza over the social networking site to convince him to ship the buoy back to them—even offering some Maine lobster in return.
He said he understands Mellaza’s concerns, but that the gear is designed to break away in order to protect sea life.
"That will break when a whale gets into it the rope will pull and the buoy will come off,” he said holding a buoy identical to the one found by Mellaza.
As Batson’s boat is named ‘Rocky Bottom’ for the ocean floor he tends to fish on, he said it has more meaning now than ever before.
"Lobstering can be a rocky bottom too. Fishing day to day you never know what you're going to get,” he said.
Batson’s gear is not the only Maine item found overseas and returned. He said he hopes to share the story with future generations and give it to one of his grandchildren.