The amazing White House award has provided a welcome moment of reflection on the work we do and on my career, since I started listening to fishermen in the early 1970s.
All of that work stands on a few simple ideas: Fishing is an important business: it provides food; and it provides a living for many people in many – often remote – communities. Fishing can last forever if it is done in a way that avoids overfishing and doesn’t hurt the ability of the ocean to continue to provide. Taking care of fishing is a job we cannot leave to government to do alone: taking care of the future of fishing is a shared responsibility that fishermen absolutely must be a part of. I have been working to make this change for over forty years and have learned what a huge change this is.
That is why the award means so much to all of us at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. Each day, our purpose is to build mutual understanding and trust, do good science, and advocate for policies that support coastal fishermen, particularly important now in a time of climate change.
My thanks to all of you who nominated me online and to everyone who has sent along their congratulations and appreciation. And to the partners, collaborators, fishermen, scientists, regulators, supporters, and my friends and co-workers through the years at Commercial Fisheries News, Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Maine Dept. of Marine Resources, and Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries: you have made it possible for me to keep this dream alive for Maine and now, for this work to be seen nationally. The award is yours as well.