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Save Maine Lobstermen - Thanks All Who Contributed in 2022!


As we wrap up one full year of our “Save Maine Lobstermen” fundraising campaign, and look ahead to a new year, it’s a good time to reflect on our successes and the ongoing strategy to overcome the challenges that continue to face Maine’s lobster industry and threaten our lobstering heritage.

In November 2021, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) launched a three-year, $10 million fundraising campaign. This was an unprecedented effort for our organization, but we knew that to support the lawsuit that the MLA filed in September 2021 and to continue our fight to preserve Maine’s lobstering heritage, we would need tremendous financial support to remain on the offense.

So many of you have answered the call!

We will forever be grateful for a strong and early commitment from Donald Sussman who helped kick start our early fundraising in 2020 with a $100,000 donation, and to John and Brendan Ready, who have each donated $125,000 to the campaign. This robust support was the building block of all our fundraising efforts.

This fall, local financial institutions heeded our call for help with Machias Savings Bank, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, First National Bank, Camden National Bank, and Partners Bank combined pledging more than $1 million in support. Their funds, combined with a $100,000 donation from Governor Mills’ Governor’s Contingency Fund, provided the MLA with renewed financial confidence heading into 2023.

We could not be where we are today, however, without the amazing support we continue to receive from MLA members and lobstermen, from Kittery to Cutler and just about every coastal community in between. Hundreds of working lobstermen donated their state license and trap tag reimbursement checks to our campaign last summer — even at a time when prices were low, and they were facing the high costs of bait and fuel and labor shortages that made the summer of 2022 one of the toughest in recent memory.

We’re also grateful for the several municipalities who have contributed to our fund to date, including Kittery, York, Cranberry Isles, South Thomaston, Long Island, Tremont, Georgetown, Vinalhaven, Stonington, Machiasport, Friendship, Ellsworth, Boothbay, and Jonesport. The MLA is asking other communities all around the state to stand with us as we work to ensure a future for our children that includes a proud, vibrant lobster industry. If your town isn’t on this list, let’s work together to encourage town officials to step up.

These efforts, combined with local fundraisers at places like Brady’s in Boothbay Harbor, Jonathan’s in Ogunquit, Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, East Wind Inn in Tenants Harbor, and the Upper Deck in Southwest Harbor, as well as community fundraisers in places like Islesford, Vinalhaven, and Bailey Island, have helped buoy our confidence and, perhaps more importantly, brought communities together.

While big fundraising events are appreciated, so are the small gifts that randomly show up in the mail. Donations such as $10 from an elderly woman who wrote a note proclaiming her support for Maine lobstermen and wishing she could afford to donate more! And we are incredibly fortunate to have the support of so many small businesses who have offered to donate a portion of their proceeds to our campaign. They are too many to name, but you can check out to see a few – and to all, thank you! These not only bolster our financial stability but are heartwarming gestures that demonstrate just how important this industry is to the identity of our state.

Even with all the success we saw in 2022, we know it is just the foundation on which we must continue to build if we are to remain in the driver’s seat. As the MLA lawsuit proceeds in 2023, so will our fundraising efforts. While we begin 2023 with encouraging news at the federal level and a glimmer of hope that we have not had in a long time, we know we continue to face an uphill battle. The MLA remains grateful for your strong support, and we ask that you continue to work with us on ways to support the lobster industry.

Bruce Fernald and friend at an Islesford event

Save Maine Lobstermen coffee is available online

Boothbay Harbor Race Committee donated to the cause

The Stewart family hosted an event in Auburn

Stephanie Hawke wrote letters of support (Maia Zewert photo)

Just one of many amazing pieces of art raffled across the state

Schools and business wore red in support of Maine lobstermen

Schools large and small showed their support

"Buy Maine lobster" was a common refrain in 2022

This issue affects everyone


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