Lobstermen under industry pressure from all angles, call for the preservation of coastal communities and their livelihood

July 21, 2019 |Stonington, ME – Lobstermen from Machias to Boothbay Harbor rallied on the Stonington Commercial Fish Pier to draw greater attention to the issues facing the survival of their industry and the livelihoods of coastal Maine communities.

Maine Lobsterman, Stonington, Maine
Lobstermen from Machias to Boothbay Harbor rallied on the Stonington Commercial Fish Pier to draw greater attention to the issues facing the survival of their industry and the livelihoods of coastal Maine communities.

Lobsterman Julie Eaton led off the day saying, “NOAA knows that not one Right Whale has been proven to have been entangled in Maine rope in many years and the new proposed regulations would only cause extreme danger to our lobstermen. We are the first line of protection to the marine mammals of all types and had much rather work on sensible solutions that work for everyone. Between the proposed new regulations for the Right Whale, a bait shortage and the threat of aquacultures leases that could allow a single person sole use of 1000 acres of our fishing grounds, these are dark times for Maine’s lobstermen. We are hoping that our state and federal politicians will hear our plea and stand by us and our coastal communities.”

Eaton added if lobstermen do not get support and the industry suffers the impact will be much larger, “Here’s the deal, if we can’t make a living then we can’t buy vehicles, we don’t fix our homes which impacts contractors, we don’t spend as much at the grocery store. When a large community such as this with more than 4800 lobster license holders is impacted the ripple effect will be felt far and wide.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is likely to get an earful from lobstermen at upcoming hearings in August to discuss the Right Whale issue. Many testifying at the hearings have demonstrated concerns that more was not done sooner to protect the lobster industry.

Over the last few months, the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has held hearings up and down the coast and, last week, Governor Janet Mills sent an open letter to members of the lobster industry conveying her solidarity with them.

Governor Janet Mills attended the rally saying, “Maine’s lobster industry is a critical pillar of our state’s economy, with thousands of commercial harvesters and dealers supporting their families, breathing life into their communities, providing jobs, and helping sustain a treasured way of life,” said Governor Mills. “As Governor, I will always defend our lobster industry. which is why I have directed Commissioner Keliher to evaluate a risk reduction target for Maine that is commensurate to any actual risk posed by the lobster industry. We are committed to pursuing solutions based on sound science that protect both lobstermen and Right Whales.”

Senator Susan Collins, Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden attended as well.

“Maine’s iconic lobster fishery supports the livelihoods of 4,800 licensed lobstermen and women and more than 10,000 additional Mainers who work within the industry,” said Senator Collins.  “The challenges facing our lobster industry have always transcended politics.  I am working with my colleagues in the Maine Delegation, lobstermen and women, state officials, and all stakeholders to find a solution that ensures a strong future for the lobster industry and reflects reality in the Gulf of Maine.”

Representative Chellie Pingree said, “The Right Whale population needs our help. I am concerned however that NOAA’s one-size-fits-all risk reduction tool may not be the best fit for Maine’s lobster industry, and could potentially endanger the lives and livelihoods of Maine lobstermen,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01). “Before we ask them to make such significant and costly changes, we need more information about the risk factors to Right Whales to ensure that reducing lines will actually keep them from harm. Protecting our oceans and the sea life that inhabit them is one of my biggest priorities in Congress, but this regulation, and all solutions need to be reassessed to ensure the safety of those putting food on our tables.”

Representative Jared Golden said, “I was proud to stand alongside Maine lobstermen in Stonington today. The new NOAA regulations could put many Maine lobstermen out of business without a guarantee that any right whales would be saved. It is important to Maine communities and the lobster industry that we continue to fight against unfair rules and inaccurate information. We’re calling for solutions based on sound science and good data that protect lobstermen and whales.”

Earlier this month, Congressman Golden, Senator Collins, Senator King, and Congresswoman Pingree wrote to the president asking him to intervene in the implementation of new regulations on Maine lobstermen.

To read the letter click here.

 

 

 

The Future Is Software – This Week, Anyway

This week Microsoft and Apple made it clear that software is the new hardware. For the time being.

Microsoft is buying the business-oriented social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash, and Apple is pivoting away from its slow-selling laptops, tablets, and smartphones to focus on improving its software.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called the purchase of LinkedIn key to the company’s corporate image building – a way to reinvent productivity and business processes. “How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market, and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world.”

LinkedIn has more than 433 million members in 200 countries, which means Microsoft will now own one of the largest social networks in the world.

That bold move is almost matched by the decision of the notoriously-proprietary Apple to allow outside developers access to some of its key apps, including Siri and iMessage. The thinking is that an infusion of fresh innovation will make the iPhone seem, well, fresh again.

Corporate image building aside, the moves by Microsoft and Apple are also smart public relations strategies that allow the companies to prove they can expand beyond their hardware offerings and more fully welcome software developers (Apple) and social media (Microsoft).

Both companies suffer from software that is – as the tech folks like say – “buggy,” so there’s some heavy lifting to be done before LinkedIn fully integrates with Microsoft and outside developers fully integrate with Apple’s closed culture. And it remains to be seen whether Apple and Microsoft can leverage these public relations moves to create more value.

Given that 60% of LinkedIn’s $2.9 billion in revenue comes from services sold to HR departments, that only 25% of users use the service each month, and that just a sliver of users pay for LinkedIn’s premium service, where does Microsoft expect to find growth?

The New York Times reported on Monday that “Apple is under pressure to fix its software and online services, which have become increasingly important to consumers. Apple has a lot of catching up to do … [because most of its] noteworthy … features [are] already offered by other internet companies, namely Amazon and Google.”

Microsoft and Apple have plenty of cash to devote to the secret sauces that will make these initiatives pay off. But tech consumers can be fickle – just ask Blackberry, MySpace, and whoever invented QR codes and laser discs – so neither venture is a sure thing.

The Knight Canney Group is betting, however, that Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella are – to paraphrase Lady Gaga – optimists, spontaneous, and ready to take the rapidly-evolving, software-centric tech world by storm.

ICELAND: PR Savvy And Connected To The World

Iceland: PR Savvy and Connected to the World. Who knew?

How can a whole country be PR and marketing savvy? The country in question is Iceland. It helps that the entire population is fewer than 333,000, and that more than two thirds of that population is concentrated in the business-centric capital of Reykjavik and its immediate environs. Despite centuries of seclusion from the rest of the world, modern Iceland may be the most connected place on Earth. Nearly 97% of the population can access the Internet and is busy spreading invitations to come visit and invest.

More than one million people—nearly three times the country’s population—now visit Iceland every year.

Recently, I was one of them. A business trip with lots of pleasure thrown in, found me in Iceland for six days. From the quirky and appealing factoids displayed on in-flight screens by Icelandair.

(“Despite their obsession with modern technology, 80% of the population believes in elves, trolls, and ghosts.”) to the visitor-friendly, multi-lingual service economy, Iceland is on a mission to make visitors—and investors—feel welcome. (WOW Airlines may have the PR edge, however, with its co-promotion with Tinder. “Flirt your way to Iceland.”)

As the country emerges from its 2008 financial collapse, there is still uncertainty regarding the pending lifting of capital controls. The controls are credited with stabilizing the currency, but also are blamed for hampering foreign investment. That investment is beginning to increase.

In the meantime, it seems that public relations and marketing in the realm of encouraging tourism and investment has become everyone’s business.

A visit to the Iceland Ocean Cluster is a prime example. The creation of Dr. Thor Sigfússon, its founder and CEO, the Iceland Ocean Cluster is all about creating greater value in marine-related industries, but it does so primarily by connecting people. Yes, there’s research, invention, and innovation, but those efforts are allowed to incubate and prosper, by making the right connections through networking, tours, and consultation. Investors find what excites them, what’s compatible with their interests and industry, while entrepreneurs find the means to realize their vision for adding value to the marine economy.

What they do at the Iceland Ocean Cluster is covered by media outlets as diverse as Iceland Fishing News Magazine and HA Magazine on Icelandic Design and Architecture.

And Sigfússon has exported his idea to the U.S. He and a local business partner in Maine will open the New England Ocean Cluster House in 2016.

With the possibility of an Arctic route opening a shorter more direct trade path to Asia (thanks, I’m afraid, to the warming climate), Iceland is poised to connect to the rest of the world in ways it never has before. The country with the oldest parliamentary government (est. 930 by its Viking forefathers) is turning out to be the newest big thing.