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  • Writer's pictureMonique Coombs

10 Reasons Not to Develop the Gulf of Maine

Food Before Energy: The Gulf of Maine is one of the most productive ecosystems in the world for creating food. Developing our wild oceans puts our food system at risk.

An Ocean Land Grab: While it looks large on a chart, there is not a part of the Gulf of Maine that isn’t being regularly used by fishermen or for activities like aquaculture, shipping, and recreation. Those users currently share the space and have found a fragile balance. Any new development will test the delicate eco-system, take away from Maine communities, and give our natural resources to large international corporations.

Empower Maine’s Ocean Stewards: Fishermen are passionate about their way of life and sustaining it for future generations, and that means being stewards of the ocean's natural resources. They are understandably concerned about the impacts industrial development in the Gulf of Maine will have on the ocean environment and the species that inhabit it. Fishermen are also worried about being blamed for the future negative impacts that offshore development will cause on the environment and species.

Future Opportunity: The growing demand for seafood puts Maine in a unique position to be a leader within the United States, and the world, when it comes to quality seafood. We need to take advantage of this and we can do so by investing in initiatives that support coastal communities and marine resources, like SEAMaine and FOCUS Maine. Developing large industrial projects in the GOM undermines on-going Maine initiatives and diminishes future opportunities for fishing families and Maine's current marine resource businesses.

Fishing Jobs are Good Jobs: Attempting to predict the longevity and return on something as large as an offshore development project while potentially diminishing another industry to the point of extinction is, simply, unwise. Promising thousands of jobs to Mainers in an industry requiring specialized education and training (that we do not offer in the state) is absurd. Fishing jobs are good jobs that support families and entire communities along the coast. It is also the culture and heritage-inspired by fishing families that are so attractive to countless visitors every year. Offshore development jobs will not be replacing a dying industry, they will be replacing thriving businesses and a particular group of people that Maine currently depends on.

Eat Green, Eat Blue: One of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas comes from food production, specifically the production of land-based protein. Local seafood, especially finfish and lobster, are some of the most carbon-friendly sources of protein you can eat, and this should be a significant point to consider in part of Maine’s solution to becoming carbon neutral.

Equity, Inclusion, Fairness: While fishermen are often promised a seat at the table, rarely are their input and suggestions used in a meaningful way. Experience shows us that too often and in very recent history, fishermen are only engaged after decisions have already been made. Equity and fairness are a goal of the Maine Climate Council Process, but already in its first project, equity, fairness, and inclusion have been overlooked.

Throw Me A Line: It is hypocritical that Maine lobstermen (and soon fishermen from other fisheries) are being forced to dramatically reduce the number of lines in the water while offshore development companies carve out space to install massive cables, rope, chains, and anchors into the water column and ocean floor. It is unfair and unfathomable that they are not being held to the same standards for protecting species of concern.

At What Cost? Onshore solar and terrestrial wind produce some of the cheapest energy available, but Maine has chosen to invest in offshore technology which is some of the most expensive energy on the market. Maine’s ratepayers will be indebted to large international companies using the Gulf of Maine as a testing ground for mass-scale industrial technology. The Gulf of Maine should not be their laboratory.

A Loss of Maine’s Culture and Heritage: Some of the first permanent settlements in Maine were fishing stations established in the 1620s at Monhegan Island. Ironically, exactly 400 years later and near the very same island, Maine’s fishing villages are threatened. Are we willing to risk a significant part of Maine’s culture and heritage for an unjustified technology?

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Together, we persevere.



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