Peter Benchley Ocean Awards
Robin Alden, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ Executive Director was named a “Hero of the Seas” award winner today, one of the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards. Robin is being recognized for her career working at the grassroots, engaging fishermen’s knowledge and participation to build sustainable, healthy coastal fisheries and fishing communities.
“It is just unbelievable to have international recognition for Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ basic approach: that the knowledge fishermen have about the ecology they work in every day is important to a healthy fisheries and our communities,” Robin said.
“This is a great time for this award,” she said. “Fisheries are at a turning point because climate change is forcing fishery regulators to face the fact that the ocean changes all the time. Constant change makes real time, on-the-ground observation so much more important than the old approach of primarily depending upon abundance predictions. We – fishermen, scientists and regulators – have to learn how to learn and act together”
She continued: “To sustain fishing communities forever, our mission, requires an approach where fishermen are on the front line not just of catching product but also of contributing to wise ways to manage fisheries.”
The international Peter Benchley Ocean Awards are the preeminent ocean awards and acknowledge outstanding achievement across many sectors of society leading to the protection of the ocean, coasts and the communities that depend on them. Co-founded by Wendy Benchley and David Helvarg, and named in honor of Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, the awards celebrate the life and legacy of a man who spent more than 40 years educating the public and expanding awareness of the importance of protecting sharks and ocean ecosystems.
One of ten categories of award, the Hero of the Seas Award is given to “a marine grassroots activist who has made a major and long-term commitment to improving the quality of our seas and the communities that depend on them.” Robin’s experience over her-four decade spanning career, fits these criteria. For twenty years she was publisher and editor of Commercial Fisheries News, a regional fishing trade newspaper that she founded in 1973. She was co-founder of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum. She was Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources from 1995 to 1997 before co-founding Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in 2003. She has also been a founding partner of Downeast Fisheries Partnership. Robin has always had the vision that Eastern Maine will be a place where we can sustain fishing, forever. This prestigious award acknowledges that vision and all the work she has done to achieve “fishing forever.”
Earlier this month the organization announced that Robin will leave her post as Executive Director of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in late 2017. This is part of a carefully-planned five-year process to position Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries to continue this important work. Following her departure from Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, Robin intends to continue work on sustaining fisheries and fishing communities, to which she has been devoted over her entire professional career.