The tip of Bailey Island was the place to be on the evening of Aug. 3, as 200 fishermen, lobster lovers and sustainability advocates celebrated the fourth annual Hook, Line & Dinner.

The 200-person event outside Cook’s Lobster & Ale House raised $27,000 for the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, based in Brunswick. The association speaks on behalf of fishermen, protects Maine’s working waterfronts and advocates for a healthy ecosystem in the Gulf of Maine.

Mary Dinsmore and Alyssa Goodwin, both of Brunswick.

“We get to pull our friends together – fishermen, community members and supporters – and come together around a fantastic seafood dinner and talk about protecting the commercial fishing industry,” said Executive Director Ben Martens. “We’re not just protecting what we used to have but looking forward to the opportunity the fishing industry represents in our state. It’s not just about now but about the next generation.”

The fundraising total included $5,000 to buy a communal life raft for fishermen to use when they need additional safety precautions.

“Fishing is always listed as one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States,” said Monique Coombs, director of marine programs. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity for local fishermen so that they never need to make the decision between paying the bills or being safe out on the water.”

Nearly 30 Maine fishermen, mostly from Portland, Port Clyde and Harpswell, contributed to the feast, donating 250 lobsters, 100 pounds of white hake and pollock, two bushels of steamed clams and 15 pounds of kelp, all prepared by Cook’s. Harpswell-based clammer David Wilson contributed two kettles of homemade quahog chowder.

“This pulls coastal communities together, and we learn from each other,” said lobsterman Willis Spear of Yarmouth. “It gives us a chance to discuss issues affecting fishermen, such as overdevelopment of the working waterfront, whaling regulations, windmills and the price of lobster.”

Guests’ attire, which Coombs dubbed “coastal community casual,” included Hawaiian shirts, sundresses and jewelry with lobster, fish and nautical themes. Sons of Quint, a local band out of Dyers Cove, set the tone musically while a storm that threatened but never materialized and a spectacular pink sunset completed the perfect Maine backdrop for visitors from as far away as Wyoming and London.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected]

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