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National Fisherman’s 2023 Highliner, Curt Brown

First published in Landings, September 2023

Curt Brown, 43, a Cape Elizabeth lobsterman and marine biologist at Ready Seafood, was named one of National Fisherman’s 2023 Highliners. Each year the magazine selects individuals from around the country as Highliners, commercial fishermen known for giving back to the industry, locally, nationally or globally.

2023 National Fisherman Highliner Curt Brown. N.F. photo.

“I definitely don’t deserve any award with the word ‘highliner’ in it. Any of my sternmen over the years can confirm that!” Brown said. “Having said that I am very proud and very humbled by this award.” Brown also serves as co-chairman of SEA Maine, a seafood economic accelerator. Brown began lobstering when he was eight years old. He continues to fish today from Cape Elizabeth, often in the company of his two children, Finn and Clara. He attended the University of Maine where he received his M.S. in marine biology and marine policy.

He began work as marine biologist at Ready Seafood in 2015, where he has been tireless in educating seafood buyers, schoolchildren and people off the street about the sustainability of the Maine lobster fishery and the conservation practices of Maine lobstermen.

Clara and Finn help out their dad on a fine summer's day. C.Brown photo.

During the past several years Brown spent endless hours on the road, galvanizing lobster dealers, processors and others to give their support to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s (MLA) Legal Defense Fund for its fight against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Regulations put in place by NMFS to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale stood to dismember the Maine fishery and bring economic ruin to coastal communities.

In June, the U.S. Appellate Court in Washington, D.C. ruled in favor of the MLA, removing the threat posed by NMFS regulations for the next several years.

“We were in real danger of losing what we have here. Myself, the MLA and many others fought with facts and common sense. I’m so proud to be part of such an amazing industry,” Brown said. “Losing was never an option. The two biggest reasons why are enjoying their lunch break on the stern right now, in between baiting and banding!”


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