Retired fisherman Richard Figueiredo couldn’t believe it when his son told him that a woman in Ireland had found one of his 20-year-old lobster trap identification tags on a beach.
“He thought I was lying to him,’’ said Rich Figueiredo.
His father, Richard, is a fourth-generation fisherman from Pembroke who would fish off his boat, the Lady Diane, about 10 miles off the coast of Cohasset near the family marina. He lost all of his lobster traps in the “perfect storm’’ of 1991.
Remnants of those traps have appeared on local beaches over the years, but never very far from their origin - until now.
Rosemary Hill, an avid beachcomber who lives in a coastal village called Waterville in County Kerry, , found one of Richard’s lobster tags that had broken off a trap a year ago on a local beach. Their story was first reported in the Patriot Ledger of Quincy.
“It looked unusual so I thought I’d bring it home,’’ Hill said. “I really forgot about it until just the other day. I thought I’d try to do a bit of research, and I managed to track down the fisherman.’’
Hill searched Facebook for the name on the tag, and sent a message to the first person that came up - Rich Figueiredo. Their story was first reported in the Patriot Ledger of Quincy.
The message said, “Hi, I’m not sure if I have the right person or not but do you mind me asking if you are a fisherman?’’
Rich Figueiredo responded to the message, saying the tag may have belonged to his father, and Hill sent him a picture of the tag, which bore Richard’s permit number - 5642 - and name.
“I immediately noticed it as my dad’s tag with his permit number,’’ Rich said.
Rich Figueiredo knew it was one of the tags his father had lost in the storm of 1991 because of the way it was marked.
“After [the storm] he started putting the year it was on the tags,’’ he said.
A few days later, Richard Figueiredo, who retired 10 years ago and hasn’t been fishing since, saw a photo of the tag.
“It’s pretty worn down,’’ he said. “It’s probably been on a few beaches before it got to Ireland.’’
‘I forgot about it until just the other day. I thought I’d try to do a bit of research, and I managed to track down the fisherman.’Rosemary Hill
He was able to talk with Hill on the phone about the tag. Hill wants to send it back to Richard Figueiredo, while Richard thinks she should keep it.
“She found it, she put all the effort and energy into it, she should have it,’’ he said. “The tag is going to end up being where it’s supposed to be in the end.’’
One thing that both parties agree on is that they have formed a friendship. “I hope we keep in touch,’’ Hill said. “It’s just so unreal.’’
Richard agreed, adding that he would happily go to Ireland to see the tag - and his new friend.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland,’’ he said.Amanda Cedrone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.