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MLA Legal Team Tours the Coast

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) legal counsel Ryan Steen and Jason Morgan from the Seattle law firm Stoel Rives traveled to Maine for the MLA Annual Meeting in early June. The two men arrived on Thursday and were met by MLA executive director Patrice McCarron for a tour of Ready Seafood’s processing facility in Saco. Curt Brown and John and Brendan Ready showed Steen and Morgan through the plant and then discussed the importance of the MLA’s legal case against the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Biological Opinion and the ramifications for the lobster fishery if the ten-year whale conservation plan is allowed to stand.

On Friday MLA board member Dustin Delano of Friendship took the two men lobstering. Despite the cool and rainy weather, which was not unfamiliar to residents of Seattle, they enjoyed learning more about the fishery and the conservation measures lobstermen follow every day. After an impromptu feast at one of Delano’s relative’s home, they visited the Spruce Head Fishermen’s Co-operative for a quick tour with MLA board member Bob Baines and former board president Dave Cousens, and had time to chat with some local lobstermen.

Then it was on to a lobster bake in Port Clyde hosted by board member Gerry Cushman. Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher attended as well as local lobstermen and members of the MLA board and staff. Lobster, clams and libations made the evening lively.

After Steen spoke at the MLA meeting on Saturday afternoon, several MLA members in attendance said how encouraged they were about the MLA’s court case. “We think the MLA is doing a wonderful job,” said Chantal Jennings who, with her husband Michael, has been a stalwart MLA supporter. “Ryan explained things in a way that was easy to understand and he certainly didn’t beat about the bush.”

“I liked how he presented himself,” said Belfast lobsterman David Black, referring to Steen. “I am confident they will do a good job and that the money the MLA is raising will be well spent. We are in good hands.”

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