Robin Alden, Executive Director
Robin Alden is Executive Director of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. Alden was Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources from 1995 to 1997, responsible for Maine‘s marine and anadromous fishery management and enforcement and for aquaculture in the state. For twenty years she was publisher and editor of Commercial Fisheries News, a regional fishing trade newspaper that she founded in 1973 and later became publisher and editor of the company’s new publication, Fish Farming News. She was a co-founder of the annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum in the mid-1970s and received the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment Visionary Award in 1997, the Maine Initiatives Social Landscape Artist Award with her husband, Ted Ames in 2007. She was a public member of the New England Fishery Management Council 1979-1982 and a member again during her tenure as Commissioner. She was a member of the National Sea Grant Review Panel from 2000-2009 and is a current member of Maine Sea Grant’s Policy Advisory Committee. In 2015, she won a SOURCE Innovator Award, which honors imaginative, smart and passionate Mainers and Maine organizations. Then in 2016 she was recognized for her life-long career in fisheries by the White House Champions of Change for Sustainable Seafood Award. Alden has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Maine. Robin lives in Stonington with her husband Ted Ames.
Bobbi Billings, Administrative Director
Bobbi Billings is the Administrative Director at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries and provides support to Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ development effort including running the annual Nautical Auction. Bobbi has lived and worked within her hometown community her whole life. She comes from many generations of fishermen and has strong ties to the fishing community as a whole. Bobbi graduated from the local high school with highest honors then went on to work within the School District as an Administrative Assistant. She remained there for 18 years. During this time, she received an Associate Degree in Accounting from Husson University. For many years she has served on numerous profit and non-profit boards in leadership positions. Bobbi is a very strong civic leader and is frequently sought out for her tremendous organizational skills and attention to detail with numerous community projects, benefits and programs. She was inducted into the National Association of Professional Women in 2008 and is a current member. Bobbi resides in Deer Isle with her husband Dana.
Brian Conklin-Powers, Finance Director
Brian Conklin-Powers is a finance professional with 35 years of experience managing the business side of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. He comes to Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries from the University of Southern Maine where he has been Finance Director for the College of Management and Human Service and the Muskie School of Public Service. Brian earned both a BS and MBA in Business Administration from Penn State University. He has owned a seasonal use property in Stonington for more than eight years, while spending winters in Portland. In his spare time, he enjoys home remodeling, boating, photography and the companionship of his black lab, Tully.
Christina Fifield, Eastern Maine Skippers Program Coordinator
Christina Fifield joins the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries team, as the Coordinator for the Eastern Maine Skippers Program. She is responsible for the primary communication with and coordination of all EMSP partners, especially the Deer Isle-Stonington High School and Rural Aspirations, participating schools and fishermen in the schools’ communities. She coordinates both the planning and the operation of the multi-school collaboration and provides an ongoing link for EMSP students and teachers with appropriate Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries staff and industry representatives. Christina comes from a long line of fishermen and industry leaders and brings with her a BS degree from Thomas College where she majored in communications with an emphasis on public relations and marketing. Her previous manager positions have served her well as the Eastern Maine Skippers Program Coordinator. Christina lives in Little Deer Isle with her fiancé Richard and daughter Danica.
Carla Guenther PhD, Senior Scientist
Carla Guenther, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ Senior Scientist, manages our fishermen’s leadership program and collaborative research. After studying lobster behavior at Woods Hole, MA she decided to test the waters of Baja California, Mexico where she learned about a special form of community-based co-management. Inspired by fishermen’s level of organization and management structure, Carla gained her PhD in Marine Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She engaged Santa Barbara’s commercial lobster fleet while conducting interviews for her doctoral research on Marine Protected Area impacts on socio-economics, reef ecology, and fishing behavior. These interviews became the basis of her communication with the rest of California’s commercial lobster fleet and fostered the fishery’s application for Marine Stewardship Council Certification, proposed legislation for self-funding lobster management science, and voluntary fishery-collection of biological data for use in the first stock assessment of California spiny lobster populations. Educated in oceanography, ecology, and anthropology, Carla approaches fisheries management with a focus on fishing communities. Carla heads up our Community Leadership program including Community Fisheries Action Roundtable (C-FAR) and leads our Collaborative Research program. Carla lives in Deer Isle with her husband Dominic and infant daughter Cameron.
Chelsea Kondratowicz joined Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries as the organization’s Administrative Assistant. She grew up in upstate New York and graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a focus in marketing from the New England School of Communication in Bangor, Maine. Since then Chelsea has worked at Eastern Maine Development Corporation assisting small business owners with government contracting as a program assistant. She recently moved to Stonington where she enjoys learning about the fishing culture. Chelsea is also extremely passionate about horses and dogs as well as having a new-found love for interior design.
Sarah is the Fisheries Associate at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries and works one day a week for the Downeast Fisheries Partnership. She graduated from Colby College in 2014, with a degree in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Environmental Policy. She first learned about Maine Center for Coastal Fisheriesthrough her Senior Thesis project on alewives in Maine. Sarah grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York and now lives in Deer Isle. Outside of Penobscot East, she enjoys hiking and camping.
Paul is the Fisheries Education Specialist at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries and works closely with Eastern Maine Skippers Program. He holds an AS in Fisheries in Marine Technology, University of Rhode Island, a BA in Literature and Cultural History, Goddard College, and an MFA in Creative Writing, Non-fiction, Southern New Hampshire University. Paul has over 40 years’ experience in fisheries from fishing to fish buying to fisheries journalism. He has written for publications such as Fishermen’s Voice, Maine Boats, the New York Times and many others. Paul has also published several critically acclaimed books on fisheries, The Doryman’s Reflection: A Fisherman’s Life; Swimming in Circles: Aquaculture and the End of Wild Oceans; and A Child’s Walk in the Wilderness. He won an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in 2003 for a study of Salmon Farming in Maine. In 2007 he won Guggenheim Fellowship to study sustainable fisheries in India, Chile, Iceland and several other countries. He was also a US delegate to the international Sustaining Small Scale Fisheries conference in Bangkok, Thailand in 2008. His experience as a home-school parent and teacher at past EMSP cohort days has fueled his passion for connecting his fisheries knowledge and belief in sustainability with the next generation of fishermen.
Mattie Rodrigue, Assistant to Executive Director
Mattie Rodrigue is Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ Assistant to Executive Director. Mattie is currently a graduate student at the University of Maine seeking a Dual M.S. in Marine Biology and Marine Policy. Mattie also continues to collaborates with Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries on the Sentinel Fishery Survey work from year to year. Her masters work and work with Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries includes managing the annual sentinel longline and jig groundfish survey in the eastern Gulf of Maine involving four vessels and over sixty sampling stations, responsible for all sampling trip coverage as the primary onboard observer, and collecting all biological and environmental data points among other responsibilities.
Patrick Shepard is Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ Policy Associate. He grew up in Stonington in a fishing family, starting a lobstering business with his brother at ages 7 and 8. Pat has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island where his undergraduate studies earned him a Coastal Fellowship working to restore shellfish beds in Rhode Island’s salt ponds. Since college, Pat has worked for the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Science Translation and Communications, producing material for both public and donor audiences. He has also worked as a NMFS fisheries observer in both the northeast scallop and groundfish fleets, and as a data technician for Delorme Publishing — both highly pertinent experience. Pat leads our New Entrants program, helping fishermen with business planning before entering new fisheries, and manages our Sentinel Survey Fishery for cod in the eastern Gulf of Maine. In his spare time, Pat and his wife, Kassandra, can be found fishing on a lake, or touring through the woods of northern Maine by snowmobile or ATV. They welcomed their first child in June 2015, Kaia.
Mike joins Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries as our Fisheries Science and Leadership Advisor. Before coming to Maine, Mike has worked as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Manager in Anchorage, Prince William Sound and the North Gulf Coast. He managed the fisheries in these areas, including salmon. He also directed Kuskokwim Native Association, which is a non-profit located in Aniak, Alaska. Mike dealt with Fisheries and Natural Resources Department in cooperative research, monitoring and management within the Middle Kuskokwim area. Mike graduated in 2005 from the University of North Dakota with a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. Mike lives in Brooklin with his wife Dolphin and sons Fisher and Watson.