At a two-hour annual meeting in Ellsworth, the 25 stakeholders in attendance for Maine Lobstermen's Association re-elected all its incumbent officers and spent the rest of the time kicking around ideas to drum up more support for the association.

Ossie Beal, re-elected president, reluctantly accepted another round in the $2,500/year position because of delicate timing.

"We're right in the middle of a fight and I can't give up now," Beal said, referring to the threat of pollution from proposed development of coastal harbors as sites for oil terminals and refineries.

The board noted that with lobstermen getting more than $1 a pound, boosting harvest value had lost appeal as a recruitment opportunity. Membership was down in 1969 to between 300 and 400 out of roughly 6,000 lobstermen.

The east-west divide among lobstermen makes consensus difficult when it comes to fighting a trap limit law as well as oil tank farms and refineries.

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 14 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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