Board of Directors

MLA directors serve a three-year term and are responsible for soliciting feedback from members. Their interactions with lobstermen on the docks in their communities help keep the organization informed. Directors are elected by the membership at our Annual Meeting held every March during the Maine Fishermen’s Forum.

Meet the MLA Board

Bob Baines imageBob Baines

Spruce Head

“The MLA speaks on behalf of the industry, whether you’re involved in the association or not. I think it’s important to be a part of that,” Bob said. “Whether it’s whale rules, bait issues or lack of profitable marketing, MLA is in the forefront of those issues. I wanted to be a part in shaping that voice.”

Sonny Beal

Beals Island

Sonny Beal is a 3rd generation lobsterman from Beals Island. He considers himself as kind of a political lobsterman staying involved with many different aspects of the industry. “I like to stay informed and be part of the discussions. The MLA was a perfect fit for me, because they stay on top of all the critical issues we deal with. Not to mention my father is a past president so the MLA is heritage as well.” Sonny is also president of his Beals-Jonesport Co-Op.

Joshua Beal

Milbridge

Josh was elected in 2021 in the midst of massive policy changes to the fishery. A younger member, Josh feels strongly that lobstermen of all ages have to stay involved to preserve the fishery.

 

JAROD BRAY

South Thomaston

MLA is important because it’s the best way to stay informed about the important issues facing Maine lobstermen and women. There are members from all across the state, representing the diversity within our industry. Being part of the MLA allows me to provide input on important topics and challenges we are currently facing. 

 

Laurin Brooks imageLaurin Brooks

Lyman

“After being on the Zone G council for many years, and having the opportunity to see what Maine Lobsterman’s Association was trying to accomplish and the gains they have made, I felt it was important to lend my voice to the direction of the industry. It is important for the industry to have members work together towards the common goal of sustainability of our fishery while facing many challenges," said Laurin.

Herman Coombs

Orrs Island

Herman, who fishes both inshore and in federal water, thinks that lobstermen have a certain responsibility to find out what’s happening if they want the fishery to prosper in the future. “The usual thing is to complain after the fact,” he said. “You can’t complain if you don’t take the time to find out what’s happening.”

Gerry CushmanGerry Cushman

Port Clyde

Gerry says that getting to know people through the MLA has helped him in other leadership positions. He does his best to attend as many meetings as he can, noting that it is very important to stay involved and to know what changes the industry is facing. “If you’re not involved, you can’t help direct things. You can’t complain about it if you’re not involved," Gerry said.

Dustin Delano imageDustin Delano

Vice President, Friendship

While many people dislike going to meetings, Dustin, a 4th generation lobsterman, finds that he enjoys the give and take among the board members. “It’s kind of interesting,” Dustin reflected. “It’s a good group. ” His passion for Maine’ lobster industry has put him at the forefront of many issues and has proved Dustin a leader on the board.

 

Jm Dowm imageJim Dow

Treasurer, Bass Harbor

Jim, a board member since 2000, said he joined because he wanted to become more involved in the political and management side of fisheries. “If we want to be able to control how the fishery is managed instead of being told how to manage it, we have to be involved,” said Jim. “We’ve got a good group involved now, but it would be great to see more people.”

Jamien HallowellJamien Hallowell

New Harbor

Jamien started hauling by hand out of a skiff at 9 years old and has been lobstering ever since. “At first I wasn’t sure [about being on the board] but attending the meetings regularly and staying informed about current and future issues we face as lobsterman has opened my eyes as a young fisherman. Our voices do matter” he said. “Lobsterman take pride in their lifestyle and profession, and the conservation of the resource is important for the future lobsterman to come. Becoming a member of the MLA board of directors is an honor and privilege.”

Bobby IngallsBobby Ingalls

Bucks Harbor

Bobby was elected to the MLA Board of directors on June 25, 1988, and has been a dedicated director since then. “I go to all the MLA meetings,” he said. “It’s important to know what’s going on. If you don’t, you get blindsided.” He also holds a seat on the Zone A council and attends all those meetings.

Mark Jones

Boothbay

Mark has served since 2003. “It’s a good board, everyone gets along. We might not always agree with each other, but no one leaves our meetings upset at someone.” And, Mark adds, “it’s important to have a heads up to what is coming down the road. If you don’t hear it firsthand from the MLA, you’ll hear it secondhand and won’t know how true it is.”

Jason Joyce

Swans Island

Jason sees many benefits from being involved with the MLA. “I like being able to talk to other fishermen about what’s going on in their port,” he said. “MLA lets members know about what bills to comment on. If I pick up anything on my radar, I come back and tell others what to be prepared for.”

Jack Merrill

Islesford

Jack believes that lobstermen are their own best advocates for the fishery. “Being a ‘responsible’ lobsterman means you have to go to a lot of meetings and work with the bureaucracy - which is frustrating. But, it’s a way of life that has died out in most of America and I think it’s worth fighting for.”

 

Troy PlummerTroy Plummer

Boothbay

Troy fishes out of Boothbay and is a strong advocate for the working waterfront issues facing Boothbay’s harbor. He was elected in 2021.
“Being involved and staying informed on the issues facing our industry has been important to me since I started lobstering. From whales to wind power, knowing what is coming and sharing that with my peers is critical to helping plan for the future," says Troy.

Kristan PorterKristan Porter

President, Cutler

“We have a great board,” Kristan said about the MLA. “I hope everyone knows how hard the board works for the state and for the people who make their living fishing. It’s not a western or eastern Maine fishery. We do what’s best for all full-time fishermen.” According to Kristan, who was elected president in 2018, the MLA is important because the association has been involved in many issues that have helped to protect Maine’s lobster industry and the people who depend on it.

Craig StewartCraig Stewart

Long Island

“I appreciate everything MLA does. I don’t always agree with everything, but I do understand,” Craig added. "When you ask four different lobstermen the same question, you are likely to get four different answers," he said, but that is why Craig thinks the MLA Board works so well. “The board understands there is no right answer for everyone. We work hard to do what is best for the state."

John TrippJohn Tripp

Spruce Head

“I was interested in what the board did, so I thought, why not become a member?” John recognizes that the lobster management system is a complex and constantly changing one, and that in the future the fishery is likely to look different than today. “We’ve got things to deal with in the future,” John says. “I talk to the younger guys, I think I can bring a younger person’s point of view to the board."

Chris WelchChris Welch

Secretary, Kennebunk

“I think it’s important to have a southern Maine voice on the board. There hasn’t been someone from Zone G in a while,” Chris said. He fishes in a zone that has its own peculiar regulations, specifically the tagging requirements that are part of the whale regulations implemented last year.

Thom WernerTHom Werner

Cape Elizabeth

Thom joined this MLA in spring 2020 and has been thrown into discussions on whales almost weekly. As a lobsterman and a small business owner (he and his wife Katie own Island Lobster Company on Peaks Island), Thom sees both sides of the lobster industry. “Protecting the resource is paramount to our coastal communities” he says.

John WilliamsJohn Williams

2nd Vice President, Stonington

When John talks about what moved him to join the board, his answer is simple, “If you don’t do something, you can’t complain.” John views being a member of the MLA board of directors as an opportunity to be proactive and to lead. “This is our business. You have to find out what’s going on, and the MLA is a great way to do that,” he said.