Alexa Dayton was announced as the new executive director at the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. Before joining the Stonington nonprofit, Dayton worked at L.L. Bean, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the University of Maine System. (Courtesy of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries)

A Hancock County nonprofit that studies fisheries in the state’s largest lobster port in order to help sustain eastern Maine fishing communities hired a new executive director this week.

The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries announced Tuesday that Alexa Dayton, who has previously held senior positions at L.L. Bean, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the University of Maine System, would replace the retiring director Paul Anderson.

The nonprofit in downtown Stonington helps foster an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, facilitates dialogue between researchers, government agencies and fishermen, and runs a school program for Down East high schoolers interested in working on the water.

Dayton’s arrival comes as the lobster fishery, one of eastern Maine’s largest economic drivers, is facing an uncertain future. She said she’s honored to carry out the center’s mission of keeping in these turbulent times.

“Empowering the next generation with hope for a bright future and sustainable economic outlook is everything,” she said. “It takes a mix of science, education, and getting out into the community for a lot of listening, to bring this vision to reality.”

Dayton has 15 years of direct experience in fisheries science and policy, according to the center. She has worked with commercial, charter and recreational fishermen through the U.S. as part of the Marine Resource Education Program and is a founding trustee of Fishing into the Future, a charity dedicated to fisheries management in the United Kingdom.

Before coming to the center, she was the chief operations officer at the Maine Center Ventures, a development nonprofit established by the University of Maine System.