Robin Alden - American Farmland Trust

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Robin Alden

Former Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources and Co-founder of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries

Robin Alden began her career when she was taking a year off from college, writing for Stonington’s weekly newspaper. What she learned that year has inspired her ever since: (1) Fishing is an important human industry because it sustains communities, provides essential food, and requires for success a healthy environment on land and sea; and (2) Fishermen’s ecological knowledge and participation are essential fishing sustainably.

Robin founded, published and edited the regional trade fishing newspaper, Commercial Fisheries News for twenty years. With Dr. Jim Wilson of University of Maine she was instrumental in starting the Maine Fisherman’s Forum (HOT LINK) and worked with Maine Sea Grant.

Robin served as Commissioner of Marine Resources under Gov. Angus King Jr., 1994-1997. During her tenure she led the establishment of a lobster trap limit and the lobster co-management system. That system includes owner-operator licensing, seven geographic lobster zones, and elected Lobster Zone Councils that provide fishermen with authority over some aspects of lobster management in their area.

Robin served on the New England Fishery Management Council from 1979-1982 and again during her tenure as Maine DMR commissioner.

Later, Robin and Ted were deeply involved with Stonington Fisheries Alliance, a group of fishermen and their wives taking local action to sustain fishing in the face of the complete collapse of groundfish in the eastern Gulf of Maine and their failure to gain federal attention to the situation. Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries emerged from that effort.

Robin’s honors include the 2017 Peter Benchley Hero of the Seas, 2016 White House Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood, and the Gulf of Maine Visionary and SOURCE Sustainability Innovator awards. She has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Maine.