Boy Featured in Wyeth Painting Opens Lobster Processing Plant
In 1999, artist Jamie Wyeth painted a portrait of a young Monhegan boy standing in front of a sign that said "Kyle's Dead Cat Museum." Wearing a cape and beckoning tourists to see mummified cats, Kyle Murdoch had an entrepreneurial spirit (albeit a slightly macabre one) from an early age. Now 23, Murdoch has left the dead cat market and the cape behind but kept his enthusiasm for interesting business ventures. Today he announced plans to open a lobster processing plant in Tenants Harbor.
In the upcoming September issue, Down East magazine looks at where the boy from that iconic painting is now. In the article Murdoch says, “I’d like to be able to contribute something to Maine, rather than taking what it contributed to me and going somewhere else.” After lobster prices crashed in 2008 Murdoch wondered why trucks of lobsters were shipped to Canada for processing. As we see today with lobster protests in Canada, Maine lobstermen could benefit from having another lobster processing plant in the state. Instead, they currently rely upon Canada to set the market.
As Murdoch suggested he would do in the article, he announced his plans for a plant that would process up to 40,000 pounds of lobster per day. In addition, next week he is opening Sea Hag Seafood, named after his father's lobsterboat. It's a bold move, but for someone who used to curate a private collection of dead cats on Monhegan Island, it doesn't seem so radical.
Look out for more about Kyle and the story behind the painting in Down East's September issue, on newsstands at the end of the month.
Photo by Amy Toensing