As spring is upon us and the ice has gone out, people are starting to think about getting back on the water. For some, that means putting a dock in. For others, it means getting traps ready to set. There are many different ways in which we enjoy the waterfront and the waters along and off of Brunswick’s shores. If you are interested in learning more about the players involved in some of those myriad uses as well as those involved in navigating how to ensure that the waterfront receives both ample protections as well as continuing to be accessible to those who live and work on it, you can attend an upcoming conversational panel, “Getting to Know Our Waterfront,” which will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. next Thursday, April 6, at the Maine Coast Heritage Trust office in Topsham (in the same building as Sea Dog restaurant).

The panel presentation is the next in a series that Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association has put together in coordination with local land trusts in communities along the coast. “Living and Working in a Waterfront Community: A Conversation Series” began with presentations in Harpswell in the fall of 2021 and has grown to include events in Kennebunkport, Freeport and Brunswick. The upcoming event in Brunswick is the second event put together by MCFA and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. The first, “Fisheries in Our Town,” was held at the Curtis Memorial Library at the end of October of last year.

October’s event focused on the variety of seafood harvested along and off of Brunswick’s shores — everything from whelks to pogies to mackerel and seaweed — and how to introduce the value of these resources to those living and working here. Panelists included Cody Gills, chairperson of Brunswick’s Marine Resource Committee, shellfish harvester and commercial fisherman; Quang Nguyen, owner of the Fishermen’s Net Seafood Shop and Restaurant; Jaclyn Robidoux, from Maine Sea Grant; and local food writer and editor of edible MAINE, Christine Rudalevidge. A recording of that event along with a blog encapsulating the discussion is available at

The upcoming panel, which focuses on the components of the town’s waterfront, will include everything from commercial fishing to recreational boating to planning for how these uses work together amidst a changing environment. In celebration of the oft-overlooked connection between our town and the waterfront, the event is fittingly located on the Androscoggin River, which may not seem coastal, but connects to the sea via the extensive Merrymeeting Bay system of waterways. Panelists will include Marko Melendy, chairperson of the Brunswick Rivers and Coastal Waters Commission; Angela Twitchell, executive director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; Helene Harrower of Paul’s Marina; and Max Burtis, a commercial shellfish harvester and co-owner of Ferda Farms oyster farm. Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association’s Director of Community Programs Monique Coombs will moderate the discussion.

As with all of the presentations in the Working Waterfront Conversation Series, this event will be free and open to the public. Space is limited, so registration is required at For those attending in person, samples of local seafood along with Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association’s Maine Coast Monkfish Stew will be served following the event. The stew is produced by Hurricane Soups & Premium Chowders in Greene using sustainably harvested monkfish along with Maine produce and dairy. The proceeds from the sale of the stew benefit MCFA’s Fishermen Feeding Mainers program that donates fresh seafood to schools, food pantries and community groups statewide.

The event will also be available by Zoom and recorded for those who are unable to attend. If you have questions about this event or others in the Working Waterfront Conversation Series, please contact me at

Susan Olcott is the director of operations at Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association.

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