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Coast Guard Identifies 4 Fishermen Lost At Sea In Portland-Based Boat's Sinking

Maine’s close-knit groundfishing community is grieving after four fishermen were lost at sea this week. This follows the loss of two others earlier this year.

Fisherman Bryan Pearce docks his boat at the same Portland pier where the Emmy Rose set out from last week, before it was caught in rough conditions and sank off Provincetown, Massachusetts, early Monday morning.

“Every fisherman takes a step back and reassesses. ‘Is it going to happen to me?’ You reassess and think, ‘Do I really want to take the risk?’ And then time goes on and you double-check everything and you say, ‘All right I’m going to be prepared.’ And then you go at it, you keep doing it because you’ve been doing it so long and you like to do it,” he says.

The Coast Guard is confirming that Jeff Matthews, Ethan Ward, Michael Porper and Robert Blethen were on the Emmy Rose when it sank. Fishermen in Portland say Blethen was captain, and the boat was likely carrying a full load of pollock and other fish when it went down.

The Coast Guard found debris and an empty life raft near the boat’s last known location a few hours after it sent out an automatic distress signal. But after an extensive search on the water and from the air, the Guard called off the operation late Tuesday afternoon.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.