It may be quite a while before Maine’s commercial fishing industry recognizes the full extent of the damage caused by the storms and flooding on January 10 and 13. Many wharves – from discreet working waterfront properties shared by just a couple of fishermen to larger working waterfront properties with more robust infrastructure like bait and fuel – were all impacted by massive waves, high tides, and strong winds.
Since the storms hit the coast of Maine, the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association (MCFA), an industry-driven nonprofit organization working to restore the fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and sustain Maine’s fishing communities for future generations, has been receiving inquiries from coastal residents and local businesses eager to support the state's commercial fishing communities. Maine Beer Company, located in Freeport, exemplified this spirit by hosting an event with MCFA to benefit Maine fishermen on Friday, January 19. In addition to dedicating 20% of their food sales and arranging a raffle to flow funds to MCFA, they also made a generous donation of $30,000 to further contribute to efforts to rebuild the working waterfront.
"Doing good through great beer is the reason Maine Beer Company exists, and supporting our community is an important part of that commitment. After learning about the recent destruction along Maine’s coast, we were keen to help in some way. Our friends at Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association worked with us to respond quickly and host an event to benefit our fishing communities. We couldn’t be more proud of them, the work they do and the generosity of so many that stopped by our tasting room and donated.” — Steve Mills, CEO
MCFA has established a “Working Waterfront Support Fund”, to provide a platform for individuals wishing to contribute to the reconstruction of the working waterfront. MCFA is collaborating with fishermen, other industry organizations, and our partners in the trades industries to determine the most effective ways to aid rebuilding efforts. The journey ahead for the working waterfront community is challenging, with obstacles such as the costs of goods to rebuild; access to necessary products like pilings, decking, and steel; and the workforce necessary to clean up, survey, and build back.
“The industry has encountered a series of challenges in recent years, grappling with mounting regulations, offshore development, escalating business costs, and environmental shifts. The cumulative effect of these factors is both burdensome and profoundly devastating,” says Ben Martens, Executive Director of MCFA. He also adds, “Fortunately, fishermen are resilient and in the face of challenges they often double down, working harder to build their businesses and ensure that the next generation has similar opportunities to those that they were given. We are incredibly thankful to amazing partners like Maine Beer Company that are helping us to share the story of the working waterfront and support Maine’s commercial fishing industry.”
Together, we persevere.
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