Brian got his commercial lobster license at age 35 – a bit older than the traditional lobsterman. But that didn’t stop him from pursuing his passion.
After getting a degree in conservation law enforcement, Brian worked as a game warden for the state of Maine for 16 years before he decided to make a pivot.
“Seven years in, I realized I was on the wrong path,” said Brian. “The job just didn’t fit my personality. I knew fishing afforded me the freedom and rewards to keep my short attention span. I just wasn’t sure how to get there.”
If grit and determination are an essential part of becoming a commercial fisherman, Brian has both in spades. He started down the path by getting a federal groundfish permit and bought a boat with his wife. While learning the ropes of groundfishing, he was invited to join an offshore lobster trip – and that’s when he found his true calling.
“I knew immediately lobstering was a perfect fit,” said Brian. “It just felt natural. I was like the Labrador Retriever of sternmen — always eager to go and slow to give up, a little sad to see the day’s end knowing it might be a while before I got back out hauling.”
Brian spent the next five years lobster fishing as often as he could, working as a sternman out of Portland and Phippsburg, fishing offshore and working full time as a game warden.
“My apprenticeship took me five years, about three extra years because I was working full time for the state while I was completing the program,” said Brian, referring to the rigorous apprenticeship program required by the state in order to obtain a lobster license.
In 2011, Brian got his commercial license and started with the 300 traps permitted to first-year license holders. He built up by 100 each year, as allowed by the Department of Marine Resources.
“I haven’t been handed any special opportunities. I’ve dug and clawed my way to where I am through sweat and determination,” said Brian. “The more I was told ‘you can’t’ the more determined I became. I didn’t love my first career choice, and I took a mulligan because fishing makes me feel more alive than anything else on earth.”
Brian’s two children and his wife Jillian play a critical role in his fishing life. His wife helps him as a sternman and his daughter hauls her own traps.
“I’ve had to work for everything, especially coming from the law enforcement side of things,” said Brian. “I have had to earn the trust of the other fishermen in the community. I feel very lucky to be where I am.”
What is your favorite way to eat Maine Lobster?
“I love lobster corn chowder. Our neighbor has written a handful of cookbooks, and she has a great recipe.”
What is the best part of living in Maine?
“I love the different seasons, and I like knowing so many people in Maine – it feels like a big small town.”
What makes you proud to go to work every day?
“I am proud to be able to provide for my family in a way that allows me to be myself and use my own special skill set.”
What is special to you about Maine Lobster or the Maine Lobster fishery?
“I like how the Maine Lobster fishery is owner-operator by law. It ensures that only people who are truly stewards of the ocean and the fishery are involved.”
Meet The People Behind the Fishery
A diverse group of people passionate about Maine and the lobster industry.