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Updated: October 2, 2023 / 2023 NextUp: 40 Under 40 Honorees

40 Under 40: Fisheries advocate Ben Martens looks to preserve local control of seafood

Photo / Tim Greenway Ben Martens has been instrumental in growing Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association into an organization “fighting for the future of Maine’s working waterfront and ocean stewardship.”
Ben Martens, 39 
Executive director, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association Find profiles of all the 40 Under 40 honorees here.
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Significant professional accomplishment: I’m incredibly proud of being able to grow MCFA from the vision fishermen had in a bait shed in Port Clyde into an impactful organization fighting for the future of Maine’s working waterfront and ocean stewardship. I don’t come from a fishing family, but I’ve been welcomed into the lives of the fishermen I work with and have had the privilege of sharing joy, success, failure and grief with them and their loved ones. Earning their trust is my most significant accomplishment.

Passion project: I have two little boys and it’s important to me to share my favorite activities and places with them. We’re in the midst of teaching the youngest how to bike and getting the oldest transitioned to a mountain bike. I love getting them out and exploring Maine.

Audacious goal: I want to preserve local control of seafood in Maine forever. As food becomes commodified, we get further and further disconnected from the people who feed us. In Maine, we still have local small businesses owning and landing wild caught fisheries and that is becoming increasingly rare in the U.S. and in the world. Maine has something unique and special that we need to actively fight for.

Favorite quote: “But the Hebrew word, the word ‘timshel’ — thou mayest — that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open.” — John Steinbeck, “East of Eden”

Influential book: “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy

Favorite movie: “Ghostbusters” (1984)

How do you recharge: I find great solace in the suburban jungle that is my yard. I am not a “good” gardener, I work more through chaos, but I’ve always got a project going to make the yard a more dynamic and colorful space. My wife studied entomology, so we’ve been adding lots of plants to attract pollinators and bring activity to the space. I’ve also been teaching the kids how to play Mario Kart and that’s been a blast. At least while I can still beat them.

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October 5, 2023

Congratulations Ben! Very well deserved!!!

October 3, 2023

Ben is an awesome individual and helmsman of the MCFA. And he's a fellow New Hampshirite to boot!

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