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Save Maine Lobstermen Enthusiasm Spreads Throughout the State

Despite downpours that soaked everyone and everything, the June 17 community fundraiser at the South Bristol Fisherman’s Co-Op was a huge success.

Laura Hughes and some wet but eager volunteers drawing raffle tickets at the South Bristol fundraiser. MLA photo.

The event featured a lobster bake, live music, and a raffle and silent auction overflowing with items donated by local businesses and craftspeople. It was spearheaded by Co-Op director, Laura Hughes with help from local fishing families. Due to the soaking rain, the raffle and auction had to be moved under a series of tents, which prevented all of the donated items from even being displayed (so Laura says she’s going have to figure out how to sell the rest of the stuff!).

Generosity was on full display, as were many laughs and smiles even as the large crowd got wetter and wetter! The Co-Op overlooks The Gut, which is filled with lobster boats, buoys, and traps and is the quintessential working harbor and community that the MLA’s #SaveMaineLobstermen campaign was organized to protect for future generations.

MLA director of advancement Kevin Kelley, board member Jamien Hallowell, office admin Mindy Coath & membership director Andi Pelletier in S. Bristol. MLA photo.

Laura is still counting all the donations so no word yet on how much the event raised but we’re already looking forward to a future event — this time, with a little sun! Thank you to Laura, MLA board member Jamien Hallowell, and everyone who worked to ensure this event’s success.

Also in June, Kennebunk businessman, Paul Humphrey, presented a check to MLA board member and Kennebunk lobsterman, Chris Welch. Humphrey owns the Mornings in Paris coffee shops in Kennebunk and Ogunquit and has been selling a specially created #SaveMaineLobstermen blend coffee since last fall. $4 from every pound sold was donated to the MLA’s legal defense fund and Welch accepted a check for $2,024.

Giant check presented to MLA board member Chris Welch. MLA photo.

“The lobstering industry is an integral part of our community and essential to supporting thousands of lobster fishing families across the state,” said Humphrey. “Equally important is what the industry does and has done for a long time to bring people to Maine. What would Maine be without locally harvested lobsters? This is why we felt compelled to do what we can to raise awareness for the challenges the industry is facing.”

“Owning and operating a small business in Maine is difficult and most people don’t realize that each licensed lobsterman in Maine is, by law, a small business owner. Maine doesn’t have large, corporate owned lobster boats. So, it means a lot to us when other small business owners, like Paul, step up and offer to help us fight burdensome federal regulations that threaten to put all of us out of business,” said Welch. “Lobstermen are proud of our long record of conservation and with the support of our friends and community members, we will have the financial resources we need not only to fight the unfair rules but also to protect our lobstering heritage for generations to come.”

MLA photo.

Finally, a quick update on the fantastic fundraiser hosted at Robinson’s Wharf in Southport last March. When all the pennies, dimes, and dollars were counted, this community-supported event raised $35,462 for the MLA’s legal defense fund! Special thanks to Hannah Leeman, Rachel Leeman, the owners and crew at Robinson’s, all of the generous sponsors and everyone in the community who donated. We simply could not fight without support like this!

Upcoming Events

An art exhibit to support the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance will begin on July 5 at the Brooksville Free Public Library, 1 Town House Road. Artist Sarah Baskin organized the show, which will feature works from nearly 40 artists from the peninsula. Fifty percent of the proceeds from sales at the show will benefit the MLCA while the remaining half will be paid to the artist. An opening reception is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. on July 6.

On Sunday, July 16, MLA board member John Williams and his wife Judy are hosting a #SaveMaineLobstermen informational picnic and fundraiser at Edgewood Farm, 40 Dunham Point Road, in Deer Isle. Lobster rolls and whoopie pies are on the menu. The event is free and open to the public, we just ask that you come with an empty stomach and (if able) an open wallet to support the MLA’s mission to preserve Maine’s lobstering industry. For more information or to RSVP, email kevin@mainelobstermen.org.

Also on July 16, Geary Brewing Company in Portland is hosting Women on the Water, a celebration of the women of Maine’s waterways. Whether you work on the water or the water inspires your artistry, you are invited to join your seafaring sisterhood in an event featuring music, art, comedy, shopping, seafood and more. Of course, there will be plenty of cold Geary’s on draught! A portion of the proceeds to benefit MLA. The event is 12-5pm (rain date July 15). FMI call Geary’s at 207.878.2337 or visit their Facebook page.

Finally, a group of lobstermen’s wives in St. George are organizing “Band of Buoys,” a fundraiser to honor the lobstering families around St. George. A buoy tree will be constructed at the corner of Juniper and Main Streets in Tenants Harbor, where buoys from local lobstermen will be displayed just in time for the annual St. George Days celebration. You can “sponsor” a buoy by donating to the MLA. FMI contact bandofbuoys@gmail.com.

 

If you have any questions or interest in hosting your own fundraising event, reach out directly to Kevin Kelley at kevin@mainelobstermen.org or call 207.967.4555.

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