The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is expected to elect a new leader for the first time in 27 years during their meeting in Rockport on Friday.
South Thomaston lobsterman David Cousens, 60, is stepping down as the association’s president, having held the post since 1991.
“I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s time for the younger generation to step up,” the South Thomaston lobsterman said in a February meeting. “I’m retiring from the political [stuff].”
Kristan Porter, a 47-year-old Cutler fishermen, is expected to take the reins on Friday. Porter currently holds the position of first vice president with the MLA, serves on the Maine Fishermen’s Forum board of directors and on the scallop advisory panel of the New England Fishery Management Council.
Porter told the Bangor Daily News this week that he doesn’t plan on attempting to best Cousens’ 27-year stint at the head of the association. He said he expects to serve as president for just a few years before stepping aside for a younger fisherman.
Both Cousens and Porter have said that the biggest issue facing Maine’s lobster fleet is the ongoing controversy over endangered north Atlantic right whale deaths in the Northeast.
Conservation groups have been pushing for stricter regulations and fishing gear changes for lobstermen in New England for several years.
While the changing of the guard isn’t official until the meeting on Friday, Porter said no other lobsterman has expressed interest in taking on the position.