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May 22, 2024

The Lobster Institute at UMaine has a new executive director

Christina Cash on a lobsterboat. Photo / Courtesy, Chris Cash Christina Cash is the new executive director at UMaine’s Lobster Institute. The boat captain is seen here ready to set lobster traps aboard her fishing vessel Priscilla Earl.

Maine native and University of Maine graduate Christina Cash has been named executive director at the university’s Lobster Institute.

Serving as the interim director since last summer, Cash succeeded Richard Wahle, who retired from the role at that time.

Cash has been with the institute since 2021. Before serving as interim director, she was the assistant director of communication and outreach. 

Previously, she served as an advancement officer at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay Harbor, as well as program and development director at the Frances Perkins Center and director of outreach at the Institute for Broadening Participation, both in Damariscotta.

Cash said her goals at the Lobster Institute include expanding its programs and student opportunities at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole.

“It is an honor to be in this position as a liaison between industry and the university,” Cash said. “There’s so much going on in the lobster world right now and I look forward to collaborating with partners from industry, management and academia on research that can help the fishery.”

Established in 1987, the institute has sought to be a center of discovery, innovation and outreach at UMaine with the goal of promoting, conducting and communicating research focused on the sustainability of the American lobster fishery in the U.S. and Canada. 

Research projects over the past couple of years have included:

  • A collaborative project to study rapid Arctic change and its implications for fisheries and fishing communities of the western North Atlantic
  • Supporting research investigating lobster byproducts
  • A study of whether proprietary commercial lobstering data be used to inform offshore wind development.

As UMaine’s marine laboratory since 1965, Darling began a $5.2 million waterfront infrastructure improvement project to enhance its research and business incubator projects.

Cash is a former first mate, captain and lobster boat owner and operator, and holds an active captain’s license. 

In her new role, she will oversee the creation of a new executive committee, with subcommittees planned for outreach, research, workforce and other focus areas. 

“We are excited about the next stage for the Lobster Institute, broadening its reach and impact across the UMaine campus, state and national and international lobster fishery partners,” said Dean Diane Rowland of the UMaine College of Earth, Life and Health Sciences, where the institute resides.

Cash will be based at Darling Marine Center.

“In her time at the Lobster Institute, Chris has already proven adept at fostering communications within the industry and advancing research to help benefit the lobster fishery as a whole,” said Marianne LaCroix, executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative and chair of the Lobster Institute advisory board.

“She is ideally suited to furthering the Lobster Institute’s mission of supporting a sustainable and profitable lobster industry."

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