After 20 years of service to the Lobster Institute, associate director Cathy Billings retired September 21.
Cathy is a true champion of the lobster industry and its hardworking men and women. Throughout her career, she collaborated with the Lobster Institute directors — first Bob Bayer, and now Rick Wahle — to help build partnerships and networks of lobster harvesters, dealers, processors, government agencies and researchers in New England and Atlantic Canada. Her leadership contributed to the Lobster Institute’s reputation as a center of discovery, innovation and outreach dedicated to promoting, conducting and communicating research focused on the sustainability of the American lobster fishery.
Cathy’s vast knowledge of the industry is compiled in her book, The Maine Lobster Industry: A History of Culture Conservation and Commerce, published in 2014. She also was instrumental in writing numerous grants to secure research funding and facilities for Maine’s coastal economy.
In her role as outreach coordinator, Cathy founded the Canada-U.S. Lobster Town Meeting in 2004, a two-day annual meeting bringing together all sectors of the industry, scientists and policy makers from both sides of the border. The event alternates between U.S. and Canadian venues. She also organized the Lobster Institute’s annual holiday fundraiser dinner and saw the creation of Big Claw white wine, sale proceeds of which benefit the Institute.
Working at the Lobster Institute and for the state’s most valuable fishing industry is “hands down, the best job I’ve ever had,” Cathy said. “The men and women I’ve met in the lobster industry continually impress and amaze me with their work ethic, their knowledge and their commitment to making the lobster industry in Maine a model of sustainability and a heritage of which to be proud.”
The mission of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute is to foster collaboration and communication in support of a sustainable and profitable lobster industry in the Northeast U.S. and Canada. The Institute will soon undertake a search to fill the associate director position. More information about the Institute is online HERE.