Olympia Snowe Commends Custom Cordage

COMMENDING CUSTOM CORDAGE, LLC -- (Senate - July 08, 2009) [Page: S. 7256]

Sen. Olympia Snowe [R-ME] : Mr. President, today I recognize the contributions of a tremendously innovative small business from my home State of Maine--Custom Cordage, LLC--that has taken on the mission of helping lobstermen dispose of their old, unusable rope by transforming it into charming gifts.

When Maine lobstermen went to set their traps this spring, they first had to replace the rope they used to connect one lobster trap to another as the result of a new regulation banning the use of traditional floating rope. It requires lobster pots to be linked with sink-rope, the goal being to reduce the risk of entangling whales. Regrettably, Maine's lobstermen face a financial burden as the new sink-rope can cost twice as much as float-rope and is far more expensive to maintain. Additionally, the new regulation threatened to result in hundreds of thousands of pounds of unusable rope clogging local landfills.

Aware of this mounting problem for Maine's lobstermen, David Bird, owner of Custom Cordage, a Waldoboro company that manufactures a variety of rope, cord, and similar products, decided last summer to begin making doormats out of retired float-rope. This colorful float-rope is uniquely weathered by seasons of use and exposure to salt water, producing a distinctive and lasting gift. Previously, the repurchased float-rope was melted and reformed as cheap plastic pots for plants. Now, the float-rope is beginning to grace the front doors of houses across the country in the form of high-quality, handwoven doormats.

Mr. Bird's creative and novel idea has caught the Nation's attention quickly. His company produces roughly 40 mats each day, and customers from across the Nation purchase over a thousand mats per month! An exceptional product, these vivid doormats were recently acknowledged as the "Best New Product" at this year's New England Products Trade Show in Portland.

Maine's lobster industry, comprised of more than 7,000 owner-operated small businesses, is a pillar of Maine's fishing industry and of our State's economy. Thanks to the forward-looking actions of Mr. Bird, lobstermen can more effectively offset the cost of upgrading to sink-rope, and the old float-rope can be kept out of local landfills. My sincerest thanks to Mr. Bird and everyone at Custom Cordage for their devotion to building forward-thinking small businesses that help our environment, our lobstermen, and our local economy. I wish them all success with this and future endeavors.