Thank you Cathy! A tribute to 20 years

Cathy Billings

After 20 years in service to the Lobster Institute, Associate Director Cathy Billings retired September 21, 2020.


Cathy is a true champion of the lobster industry, and its hard working men and women. Throughout her career, she collaborated with the Lobster Institute directors — first Bob Bayer, and now Rick Wahle — to help build partnerships and networks of lobster harvesters, dealers, processors, government agencies and researchers in New England and Atlantic Canada. Her leadership contributed to the Lobster Institute’s reputation as a center of discovery, innovation and outreach dedicated to promoting, conducting and communicating research focused on the sustainability of the American lobster fishery.

Cathy’s vast knowledge of the industry is compiled in her book, The Maine Lobster Industry: A History of Culture Conservation and Commerce, published in 2014. She also was instrumental in writing numerous grants to secure research funding and facilities support for Maine’s coastal economy.

In her role as outreach coordinator, Cathy founded the Canada-U.S. Lobster Town Meeting in 2004, a two-day annual meeting bringing together all sectors of the industry, scientists and policy makers from both sides of the border. The event alternates between U.S. and Canadian venues.

She also organized the Lobster Institute’s annual holiday fundraiser dinner and saw the creation of Big Claw white wine, proceeds of which benefit the institute.

Cathy received a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in public administration from UMaine in 1978 and 1995, respectively.

Working at the Lobster Institute — and for the state’s most valuable legacy fishing industry — is “hands down the best job I’ve ever had,” Cathy says.

“The men and women I’ve met in the lobster industry continually impress and amaze me with their work ethic, their knowledge and their commitment to making the lobster industry in Maine a model of sustainability and a heritage of which to be proud,” Cathy says.

Thank you for your leadership, advocacy and hard work, Cathy. We wish you all the best in retirement, which we understand will include no less lobster dipped in butter than she savored before retirement!  

The mission of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute is to foster collaboration and communication in support of a sustainable and profitable lobster industry in the Northeast U.S. and Canada. In the near future, the institute will be undertaking a search to fill the associate director position. More information about the institute is online: