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Governor visits festival

Declares August lobster month
By Beth A. Birmingham | Aug 01, 2013
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Gov. Paul LePage declares August lobster month during a visit to the 66th Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 1. Also on hand to talk about marketing and branding of Maine lobster is, from left, David Cousens, president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association and Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the DMR.

Rockland — Gov. Paul LePage and Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher visited the 66th Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 1.

Festival Director Chuck Kruger, also a state representative from Thomaston, had presented a bill (LD 486) that LePage signed to bring additional funds — nearly $3 million — to the lobster industry across Europe, Asia and America.

"This is a big deal for the Maine lobster industry," said Kruger.

"If we don't maintain the tradition of Senator Muskie and work hard to protect our land, air, and water, there will be no lobsters, no festival, and no quality of life on the Maine coast," he added.

"The fishermen of Maine are the epitome of hard work and true independence," said LePage.

Click for photos from the 2013 Maine Lobster Festival.

Click for photos from the 2013 Maine Lobster Festival Sea Goddess Coronation.

LePage expressed how proud he is of what is happening in the industry here in Maine. He said the lobster industry is a sustainable fishery.

"We want to have this industry for the next 100 years and the only way we will is if we are good stewards of the ocean," said LePage.

He acknowledged that people are concerned about the sustainability of this industry for the future of their children and grandchildren, and commended those involved for the work they have been doing.

"August is lobster month," declared LePage, who said every governor in the United States will be getting Maine lobster sent to them in an effort to encourage them to enjoy it and tell everybody about it.

"The one thing we need is marketing," said LePage.

LePage said Maine has three issues when it comes to economic development.

The people who are saying we are not creating new jobs are the ones preventing it — the legislature," said LePage.

"We are anti-business. Our taxes are too high, our energy is too high, and we are not business-friendly," he said. "We are trying, but it takes all 181 people in legislature along with the governor to make a difference."

Keliher, commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources, has been working closely with the governor on the marketing initiative.

Keliher explained that raising the fees on fishermen's licensing will assist in the marketing collaborative. The proposed three-year plan should see $750,000 in the first year. The second year, $1.5 million, and the third year $2.3 million.

Lobstering brought in $300 million in product and more than 126 million pounds of lobster last year.

"All in all it is worth more than $1 billion to our coastal economy," said Keliher.

The key of the Maine lobster industry is not the management — it is the fishermen, he said.

"If we do nothing we will receive nothing," said Keliher about marketing the Maine lobster industry.

David Cousens, president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association, said the long-standing eco-friendly harvesting standards the fishermen practice have made what used to be a 25 million pound harvest the successful 126 million pound this year.

Cousens said the v-notch placed on a pregnant female's flipper — signifying it cannot be harvested — has allowed lobster to get to full size. Also traps designed with escape vents allow little lobsters to go in and eat, but allow them to get out.

"The problem facing us now is economics," said Cousens.

The price of lobsters is extremely low, but the cost of doing business is extremely high, he said.

Cousens also said word needs to get out as to how healthy lobster is to eat. It is low in cholesterol and fat, and high in protein and Omega 3.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at

Lobster a la LePage is sampled by Gov. Paul LePage, center, during a visit to the 66th Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 1. Chef/Owner of Cafe Miranda Kerry Altiero, left, came up with the new menu item in honor of LePage's visit. Also testing the dish is Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
One of the first official acts for 2013 Maine Sea Goddess Melissa Philbrook is greeting Gov. Paul LePage during his visit to the Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 1. Looking on is event coordinator Chuck Kruger. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
David Cousens, president of the Maine Lobstermen's Association, speaks about a plan to market and brand Maine lobster during a visit to the Lobster Festival Aug. 1. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
A friendly moment is had between Blackbeard the Pirate and Gov. Paul LePage during a visit to the 66th Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 1. Also in attendance is Patrick Keliher, right, commissioner of the DMR. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
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Comments (6)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Aug 04, 2013 08:56

Catherine tell us what to do with these misfits of society that are draining us of our tax dollars. Perhaps you can figure out a way to get some of the tax free property in town on the tax roll. It isn't just welfare people sucking the coffers dry.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 02, 2013 09:21

There you go, Representative Dickerson, living in the solution. ;) Thanx. It WILL spread.

Posted by: Elizabeth Dickerson | Aug 02, 2013 08:53

It was a beautiful day, and we all came together to celebrate the hard work of the Marine Resources Committee and the Department of Marine Resources in drafting the lobster marketing bill. I was honored to be a part of this effort. We're very thankful to the lobstermen and women of our state for working with us, and thankful for the tireless efforts of folks from the MLA, the department, and all over the state to institute Maine's conservation efforts of our lobstering resource. That's why we still have lobstering. Let's stay together now, and work to market our product positively to the world, and show them what we have!

Posted by: Martha Seavey Boynton | Aug 02, 2013 07:19

Maine welfare versus private jobs growth
Here you go Ben and this is almost 3 years old.

Posted by: Ben Ellison | Aug 01, 2013 20:53

51% of the adults who could work get welfare instead?  Can you please supply some evidence, Catherine?

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 01, 2013 15:30

Hope the Governor saw what it is like when people work together for solutions.  We may be little in size, but we certainly aren't in heart. ;)

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