The Maine Lobstermen’s Association presented two awards to Maine Department of Marine Resources officials at the annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport last weekend, according to a prepared statement released Wednesday by DMR. Marine Patrol Specialist Matt Talbot was given the annual Officer of the Year award and DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher received the MLA award for Outstanding Achievement.
Talbot was responsible for the arrest of two midcoast men for possession of more than 400 v-notch lobsters. In Maine, it is illegal to possess lobsters that have small “v”-shaped notches that fishermen cut into their tails to mark them as egg-bearing females. The measure is aimed at preserving the breeding population of the resource.
Talbot is a twelve year veteran of the Marine Patrol, serves in the Rockland to Searsport area, and is married with two children, according to the release.
Keliher was honored for his outreach efforts to industry and for his work to improve department morale and effectiveness, the release indicated. Keliher and his staff recently concluded a series of 16 meetings with lobster industry stakeholders in communities from Machias to York to solicit input on the state of the fishery.
David Cousens, a Spruce Head lobsterman and president of MLA, acknowledged in the release that it is rare for an industry group to honor a governmental agency that regulates and polices it. He thanked Talbot for helping to protect the lobster resource and Keliher for “building a strong team” at DMR and for reaching out and involving fishermen in the decision-making process.
“The MLA feels strongly that DMR and Marine Patrol work in partnership with lobster industry to make sure that we have a healthy resource,” Cousens said. “It means a great deal to know that a state official charged with regulating us is committed to working with industry as a partner.”
Gov. Paul LePage said in the release that the awards were well-deserved.
“The award for Commissioner Keliher provides further confirmation of what I’ve long known for a long time,” LePage said. “His depth of knowledge and commitment to dialogue has won great respect among fishermen. I’m also very proud of Specialist Talbot. He has clearly balanced the need for enforcement with a dedication to supporting Mainers who make a living on the water.”
MLA was founded in 1954 and currently is the oldest and, with 1,200 members, the largest fishing industry association on the East Coast.
In the photograph above are (from left to right) Marine Patrol Colonel Joseph Fessenden, Cousens, Marine Patrol Major Alan Talbot, Specialist Matt Talbot, and MLA Executive Director Patrice McCarron.