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News Feature

Stonington
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, January 16, 2014
Stonington fisherman seeks better-fitting gear for women

Young lobsterman Natalie Zanke

Young lobsterman Natalie Zanke out on the water.

Photo courtesy of Genevieve Kurelic McDonald

by Jessica Brophy

Genevieve Kurelic McDonald has a problem. Whenever she buys oil gear that fits across her chest, the sleeves are too long.

“I end up having to cut the sleeves, and then when I do, even when I wear gloves I still get wet,” said McDonald. Her solution: oil gear designed for women.

“Women have curves and are frequently shorter or smaller,” said McDonald. “Many women modify their gear. It’s not safe to have gear that can snag or catch while you’re working or doesn’t keep you warm and dry, especially in the winter.”

A few months ago, McDonald began collecting stories and photographs from other women fishermen, thinking that she would perhaps create a photo documentary asking marine industry clothing company Grundens to make a line of oil gear for women.

“It’s been on my mind for a number of years. It would be great to have an oil coat that fits properly,” said McDonald. When she asked for photos from women fishermen, the response was overwhelming. “I never imagined I’d receive over 200 photos from all across Maine, New England, Canada, Alaska and beyond,” she said.

McDonald has dubbed the project “Chix Who Fish.” She said she is considering going into the business of making oil gear for women herself, after seeing the obvious need for it. “I think it would be terrific to have a Maine-based brand marketing this product,” said McDonald.

McDonald has been fishing for nine years and has been Captain of the F/V Hello Darlin’. She also fishes aboard the F/V Sure Thing out of Stonington. She said she has seen an increase in women in the industry.

“There are women working full-time on boats of every size and in numerous different fisheries,” she said. “The industry as a whole has many more women involved, not only as captains and crew but also in marketing, science, management and the nonprofit sector.”

Anyone who has photographs they would like to contribute can email Genevieve Kurelic McDonald here.

Lobsterman Joline Drew

Lobsterman Joline Drew at work.

Young lobsterman Natalie Zanke

Young lobsterman Natalie Zanke out on the water.

Photo courtesy of Genevieve Kurelic McDonald
Lobsterman Jonelle Robbins

This photograph of Jonelle Robbins is one of many submitted to the project.

Photo courtesy of Genevieve Kurelic McDonald
Lobsterman Marissa Carter

Fisherman Marissa Carter was among the many local women who have submitted photographs of themselves as part of the “Chix Who Fish” project.

Photo courtesy of Genevieve Kurelic McDonald
Stonington lobsterman Genevieve Kurelic McDonald

Genevieve Kurelic McDonald aboard her boat Hello Darlin’. McDonald is collecting photographs of women fishermen in the hopes of documenting a need for a women’s line of fishing gear.

Photo courtesy of Genevieve Kurelic McDonald