For Hodgkins a charter would have meant $200, his current rate, up from the $150 that he had charged the previous three years. Tuna fishing is an expensive proposition. In the last decade the price of fuel has doubled. The day's fishing on Stellwagen had cost him $100. Ninety gallons of fuel had been used. Hodgkins said to a friend, "How many days can you go out without catching a fish to sell, when you're paying $100 to do it? And besides, I'd like to see the tuna preserved."
He seemed to be contradicting himself. The fishing he loves is so expensive now that he would have to be consistently successful to afford it. But that success would contribute to its ruination, and that he seeks to avoid. Ellis Hodgkins' problem seemed to be that of all men. There was nothing he could think of to do to solve it.