Thousands of Groundline Ropes Collected in Ellsworth 

Tuesday was the final day of the groundline exchange program in Ellsworth and fishermen took advantage of the opportunity to swap rope for cash.As Diana Bosch reports, more than 50,000 pounds of rope was collected.On a hot August day, lobstermen and fishermen from across the state traveled to Ellsworth, it was their last chance to swap their ground line rope for cash to buy sinking rope.”We’ve taken almost two million pounds of groundline out of the ocean that would have otherwise gone to a landfill or been burned in a backyard,” said Laura Ludwig with the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation.Nearly one thousand fishermen have collectively received over 2.6 million dollars in vouchers to help them buy the more expensive sink rope, which is required by new federal rules.We spoke with some fishermen off camera who said they are worried about the future of their business.”They’re losing the ability to fish in certain areas, they had to just avoid putting traps in certain areas knowing they would lose those traps because of the sink rope,” said Ludwig.Although the new rope rule is hitting fishermen in the wallet, it’s helped Terry Veysey’s business in Waldoboro. He takes the rope that is collected and it is then weaved into doormats.”We’ve got three people working in the shop not all of them are full time and it keeps several weavers as well,” he said.But the end of the exchange program, doesn’t mean the end of his business. With millions of rope collected, his company will be busy crafting doormats.”We have enough rope to allow us enough time to explore other avenues of our business,”If you missed Tuesday’s exchange, the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation is hosting another one Wednesday in Waldoboro.For more information, you can contact their office at 985-8088.