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Freeport is MCFA's Latest Working Waterfront Panel

“Fisheries in Our Town,” recently held at Freeport’s Meetinghouse Arts, was the latest working waterfront panel organized by MCFA. It followed on similar events in the towns of Harpswell, Brunswick, and Kennebunkport that have taken place over the last year and a half - all collaborations between MCFA and local land trusts. MCFA has organized and facilitated these panels in order to build better communications among those that live and work on the waterfront.

Panelists for the Freeport event, co-sponsored by the Freeport Conservation Trust, included Freeport’s Harbormaster, Charlie Tetreau; Peter Millholland, of Seacoast Tours, a local charter boat company; Ken Sparta, an oyster and kelp farmer with Spartan Sea Farms; and Corey Wentworth, a local clam harvester. Questions from both the moderator and the audience included how to define the working waterfront. One of the audience members described it as, “an attitude that a community takes towards those who work on the water.” This brought up a comment about the frequent lack of communication between coastal residents and those who work on the coast and how important it is to get to know each other. Another audience member pointed out that, “It’s hard to hate someone once you realize they’re a nice guy,” That can apply even when something they are doing seems noisy or annoying like the sounds of a loud engine, for example.

Wentworth, a local clam harvester, added, “Sometimes you feel like you’re looked at as a criminal. But, really we’re nice guys.” Sparta, an oyster farmer, added, “You have to have conversations so that people can understand what we need to do and why.” Milholland, a charter boat operator, added that he “tries to be a platform for those conversations” when he’s out on the water by explaining the types of activities they are seeing.

The evening ended on a high note with the question of “what’s your favorite waterfront spot in Freeport?” to which Harbormaster Charlie Tetreau said, “Well, I can’t tell you,” which garnered laughter. The event was followed by a reception at the Freeport Oyster Bar, co-owned by panelist Ken Sparta, who will be hosting another event this coming Tuesday, March 28th to benefit MCFA’s programs. That event will include an oyster shucking class as well as samples of other local seafood accompanied by beverage pairings. Tickets are available here.

If you missed the presentation, you can watch the recording here. And, please save the date for the next Working Waterfront panel discussion which will be co-hosted by the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) on the evening of April 6th. The event will be free to the public but require registration and will be available in person and by Zoom. You can register here.

Note: Portions of this article were taken from a recently published column in The Times Record, Intertidal, March 9, 2023.



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