Back in October of 1991, the DownEast Lobstermen’s Association was formed by a small group of lobstermen in the Jonesport, ME area. Since its humble beginning, this association has become known state and nationwide. Our membership includes lobstermen from Kittery to Eastport. We also have members in the Atlantic States, such as New Hampshire and Massachusetts. All of these lobstermen share the same interest and concerns about their fishery. We also have Business Associate and Avid Supporter memberships from as far as the West Coast, such as Washington, state.
DELA’s grassroots started with Herman Beckman, elected as its first president and Richard Alley as Sec/Treas., with past presidents such as Harvey Crowley, Leroy Bridges, Norbert Lemieux and Clive Farrin. Today, Hilton Turner of Stonington is President, Nick Lemieux of Cutler is Vice-President, Mike Dassatt of Belfast is Sec/Treas. DELA’s Executive Director is Sheila Holland-Dassatt of Belfast, formerly of Stonington, Maine.
Our members and directors are seated on the Lobster Zone Councils statewide. We are represented on the Lobster Conservation Management Council (LCMT’s) for Area 1 and Area 3, the Large Whale Take Reduction Team. Our president and vice-president have had seats on the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, as well as our director having the seat as chair of the Research, Education and Development Board (lobster license plates) and the secretary on the Executive Board for the Maine Fishermen’s Forum. We also have active seats on the Board of Director’s for the Lobster Institute of the University of Maine, Orono. DELA takes part in the Working Waterfront Coalition, helping to save our working waterfronts. We have maintained an open dialogue with our state’s Marine Resources Committee of the Maine Legislature and have personally worked with our Governor, the Honorable Paul LePage on recent issues and concerns for the safety and well-being of our fishermen, their families and our lobster fishery.
May I first say the DELA would be proud to have you join us as a member. Some people say, “why be a member?” The more the membership, the bigger the voice. When you look at our fishery from where we came to where it is going, we need to stay united. With the cost of operating climbing, it’s only going to get tougher, especially when you factor in all of the changing regulations as well. Over the past year, DELA has really stepped up to its presence as a leader in our fishery. We have earned the respect from many for being straight forward and holding to our positions. DELA will not double talk. We mean what we say and say what we mean. That’s “Downeast Tradition.
Some people will say that it is a done deal but we have a different belief: remember what Joshua Chamberlain said to his troops of the 2nd Maine at Gettysburg, “We are the end of the line, if We fail, We will lose this battle, if We lose this battle We lose the war.”
We hope that you would consider joining DELA – “Your Voice Will Be Heard!”