On behalf of many of Portland’s commercial fishermen, I would like to thank the city of Portland and its community members for its time, efforts, and commitment to protecting the working waterfront on Commercial St. The past six-months during the moratorium, we felt like the city made a strong effort to hear our concerns and work with us to create solutions. This was not always easy and we did not always agree, but the conversations that the city helped facilitate between wharf owners, local businesses, and fishermen set a precedent that if we want to ensure the commercial fishing industry is a part of Portland’s future, we must act now and make challenging decisions, and we must continue this dialogue to ensure our work is fostered and continues to advance.

The working waterfronts in Elliot, Portland, Boothbay Harbor, Stonington, Eastport, and everywhere in between, are essential to Maine’s future, culture, economy, and heritage. More than just a wharf, a working waterfront helps keep fishermen safe at sea and is a foundation for fishermen to return home to. The fishing industry is currently quite fragile because of environmental concerns, increasing costs of doing business, outlandish criticisms, and conflicting uses both on the shore and in the Gulf of Maine. As working waterfronts and commercial fishing businesses collapse, the communities that they support will collapse too. We must do everything that we can to prevent that from happening in Maine, and we feel like the efforts and solutions that were enacted in Portland are a step in the right direction.

The working waterfront is part of Maine’s robust food system and we hope that Portlanders, Mainers, city councilors, town managers, selectmen and others will keep this in mind when weighing its importance against other new developments.

We would also like to thank the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association for helping us express our concerns and supporting us throughout this process and giving us the tools to help others see the value of Maine’s fishermen, their families, their communities, and the seafood they catch. We would appreciate the continued support of our efforts, the work of organizations like the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, and Maine’s iconic commercial fishing industry.

Bill Coppersmith

Portland’s Working Waterfront Group


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