We in Nova Scotia have learned that the Portland Board of Harbor Commissioners has just approved an increase of about $700 per day in pilotage fees for escorting The Cat ferry into and out of Portland Harbor. This is an attempt to correct an earlier, unexpected daily increase of $1,000 that the board sprang on Bay Ferries during the past summer.

The need for pilotage is dubious. In earlier days, pilots escorted the Nova Scotia ferries in and out at the beginning of each season; once the captain and crew were familiar with the harbor, they were allowed to navigate on their own. Over a period of about 40 years, no accidents happened. But I guess there’s money to be made, and we need the ferry more than you do.

We understand that the latest fee increase is in response to financial support provided by the government of Nova Scotia. That is highly convoluted reasoning, to be excessively polite. Conversations I have had with tourism-related businesses in Portland lead me to believe that the ferry to Nova Scotia has been very beneficial to them since it was restarted in 2014. It would be nice if Nova Scotia got more than gratitude for our support, but by now, we know better than to expect that.

If local businesses in Portland care about the long-term viability of the service, it is past time to challenge these money grabs by the Board of Harbor Commissioners, in the strongest possible terms. It looks as if a lot of decision-makers over your way haven’t read “The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg.” Your voices count. Ours don’t.

John Sollows

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia