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Living and Working in a Waterfront Community: A Conversation Series

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
August 21, 2022

Several local organizations collaborate to educate Harpswell residents about the working waterfront and open up lines of communication between fishermen and their non-fishermen neighbors. Outcomes of this fruitful collaboration include panel discussions, written articles published in the Harpswell Anchor, and a new guide about living and working near the ocean. Recordings of the panel discussions and articles can be found below. The “Scuttlebutt” guide can be picked up at the Harpswell Town Office, Cundy’s Harbor Library, and Harpswell Heritage Land Trust.

This collaborative partnership, which kicked off in 2021, brings together the Harpswell Anchor, Cundy’s Harbor Library, Holbrook Community Foundation, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, and Harpswell Heritage Land Trust.

Fishing through the Seasons focused on the variety of fisheries in Harpswell as well as the methods and timing for harvest. Panelists shared information on what they catch, how and when. Representatives from a variety of fisheries were included. Monique Coombs of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association moderated the discussion. This event occurred on October 21, 2021. Click here to watch the recording.

Conversations From the Fishing Community was an informal storytelling roundtable where different generations of Harpswell fishing families shared what has changed over the years and what they have passed on. The event was meant to be an opportunity for those from the fishing community, young and old, to talk casually with each other while giving audience members a chance to listen in on their conversations. Monique Coombs of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association moderated the discussion. This event occurred on November 18, 2021. Click here to watch the recording.

Access for the Fishing Community explored what access means to fishing businesses. Accessing the intertidal to harvest quahogs and clams, mooring availability, space to store and maintain gear, access to markets and permits, and space to beach a lobster boat are all necessary aspects of doing business for fishermen. Some of these forms of access are more challenging than others and some vary depending on the season, like parking availability in the summer and winter. Fishermen and town representatives talked about access in Harpswell, some of the challenges that exist, and how local residents can support Harpswell’s family-owned fishing businesses. This event occurred on May 11, 2022. Click here to watch the recording.

Etiquette on the Water explored the ways people can spend time on the water harmoniously. Etiquette may not be a term typically associated with the working waterfront but, in this case, it refers to the ways that people can both work on and enjoy the waterfront and its coastal waters in a respectful and safe way. Panelists for this event included the Maine Island Trail Association and Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, along with representatives from local fishing and chartering businesses. This event occurred on June 15, 2022. Click here to watch the recording.

Working waterfront panel discussion (Photo by J.W. Oliver)

Click on the links below to read articles by Susan Olcott published in the Harpswell Anchor.

Conversation series addresses etiquette on the water

Waterfront conversation series tackles access, in all its forms

Waterfront conversation series to return with panels on access, etiquette

Maine’s scallop fishery third only to lobsters, clams

Town raises concerns about discovery of ‘forever chemicals’ in Harpswell Cove

Harpswell clammers confront challenges, from climate change to water access

To everything there is a season — even in Harpswell’s fisheries

From grandfather to granddaughter, a fishing tradition continues in Harpswell