Lobster rally raises funds and optimism
A rally for the lobster industry attracted more than 300 fishermen, their families, friends and stakeholders to the Stonington Fish Pier on Sunday, October 30. Co-organizer Melissa Jones Bayley said the event raised about $5,000 for legal expenses incurred in the fight against onerous new federal regulations that could put lobstermen out of business. In addition to a speaker’s list that included politicians, fishermen, activists and state officials, the six-hour event also featured food trucks, merchandise vendors and three live bands. “Our goal was to empower the community and our fishermen,” Bayley said. “People already have so much going on, but our message was that each person has the power to make change.”
Rally attracts hundreds to Fish Pier
The Maine Lobster Industry Rally attracted more than 300 fishermen, their families, state officials and members of the media to the Stonington Fish Pier on Sunday, October 30. Current Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher, center, wearing sunglasses, spoke early in the day, urging lobstermen to stay united in the fight against proposed federal regulations.
Melissa Jones Bayley
Melissa Jones Bayley, a co-organize of the rally, said she had goosebumps when she saw the crowd assembling shortly before 10 a.m. Along with Jill Larrabee, Bayley had just about three weeks to pull the event together.
Blue Hill resident Robert Burke took the National Marine Fisheries Service to task over the arithmetic it used to calculate the size of the right whale population. He claimed double entries and phantom mortalities reduced the current population estimate from 716 to about 350 whales.
Robin Alden, former Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Marine Resources, called the proposed lobstering restrictions “a travesty.” She was one of nearly two dozen speakers at the Maine Lobster Industry Rally at the Stonington Fish Pier.