Covid-19 and Maine's fishing communities
Today we are all navigating uncharted waters and we are surrounded by questions, uncertainty, and fear. Covid-19 has only started to reach the coast of Maine but we are already feeling the ripples of what will be a dramatic and profound impact. In 2008, after the housing bubble popped and the US economy went into a recession, lobster prices dropped severely, over the past week we have witnessed a similar drop for many of our marine resources including lobster, groundfish, scallop, and shellfish.
Some fishermen and fishing businesses are able to cope or adapt for the short-term, others need immediate assistance, none are prepared for what might be a long-term decline in seafood value. MCFA is working to pull together a list of resources for those immediately impacted and working with our state and federal officials to plan for an increasingly uncertain future. We will share those resources as soon as the document is finalized.
When fishermen aren't fishing the bills are still coming, boat payments are still due, and gear still needs to be checked or repaired; the only opportunity fishermen have to make a living is to go fishing and receive a fair price at the dock. As restaurants close throughout the country and overseas markets shut down, the current economy is not able to create enough demand to appropriately compensate Maine’s fishermen.
It has been amazing to watch our collective community come together to support local small businesses. Folks are buying gift cards, purchasing to-go food, signing up for CSA shares, and filling up their fridges with local beer and ready-made food products. Unfortunately, it is much harder to find ways to support local fishing businesses, listed below are a few places still selling local fish and we would LOVE for you to continue to buy and eat local. (We also recommend calling ahead as all businesses are subject to change and may be able to help accommodate your personal needs).
Gulf of Maine Sashimi is offering pickup locations for Maine caught fish
Harbor Fish is offering curbside and at-home delivery
The Maine Coast Fishermen's Association is urging policymakers to create a stimulus package to help ease the financial uncertainty and crises that lies ahead for all of Maine’s fishermen. You can help by calling and emailing your local representatives, the governor’s office, and the Department of Marine resources to let them know about your experiences and concerns. PLEASE reach out. Fishermen's voices, ideas, predicaments, and thoughts need to be heard.
Additionally, if you have any ideas that MCFA can help with please don't hesitate to call or e-mail.
Together, we persevere.
The team at MCFA
You can find information for your local representatives HERE.
Angus King's office (207-764-5124)
Susan Collins' office (207-493-7873)
Department of Marine Resources (207-624-6550)