ROCKPORT — Lobster fishermen have a reputation as being self-reliant, hardy folks who battle the elements alone every day they haul their traps off the coast of Maine.

But it takes many businesses, small and large, to support what is far and away the state’s most valuable fishery, including one Lincoln County company that is steadfast when it comes to the notion of staying local. Eric Dedoes, president of Plante Buoy Sticks in Somerville, said the company has been manufacturing plastic gear for lobster and crab traps for more than 30 years and does so at a factory in Lewiston — not by outsourcing to China or another country where costs are lower but attention to fishermen’s needs likely would be less.

“I’m made in Maine,” he said Saturday from his booth at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum. “I want to be.”

He said the company makes and sells “hundreds of thousands” of plastic pieces for the fishing industry every year, including trap corners, bait cleats, door hooks, lobster and crab escape vents and right whale-safe breakaway gear.

“We’re the only company that does all of it,” Dedoes said, affably greeting the lobster fishermen who stopped by to say hello and pick up free samples of the brightly colored plastic goods.

One of those lobstermen, Mike Dassatt of Belfast, said he appreciates the care with which the products are made.


“The best way to describe it is, when I drive a nail through his plastic runner clips, it doesn’t break,” the lobsterman said.

Dedoes said he has been working in the business of supplying fishermen since 1978, when he helped at his father’s store on Union Wharf in Portland.

“There were no condos when I started,” Dedoes recalled.

Then he went to work with Emil Plante, founder of the Buoy Sticks company and the first person to invent trap vents to allow lobsters to escape. Dedoes ran, then purchased the company, which designs and distributes the products to fishermen all over. Molds used to make the different pieces aren’t inexpensive, he said, and can cost as much as $40,000.

Over the years, the company has grown from employing just one person to employing four people today.

Dedoes is proudest of a product that isn’t part of a lobster trap at all. It’s a plastic sheath for a sharp paring knife, which lobstermen wear on their suspenders for easy access in case of emergency.


“It’s the only product I came up with that sold as soon as I brought it to market,” he said, adding he has a market for the lightweight knife and sheath outside the North Atlantic lobster industry. “I sell to the Coast Guard and Alaskan fishermen. It’s something that could potentially make a huge difference in someone’s life.”

Lobsterman Travis Otis of Searsport said it has made a difference in his life and saved him once, when he caught his foot in a coil of line and might have been on his way overboard.

“It was right there. It’s a slick thing,” he said. “If you’re in a pinch, the knife’s out in a flash and there you are.”

For more information about the company, visit their website at

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: