top of page
  • Writer's pictureMonique Coombs

Working Waterfront: WWAPP

Working Waterfront Access Protection Program (WWAPP)

Future (LMF) program. WWAPP funds are used to purchase development rights through an agreement

between the state and property owners so that it remains a working waterfront in perpetuity.

Since established in 2011, 25 properties have been protected under WWAPP.

While WWAPP has been an instrumental program conserving working waterfront properties in communities such as Port Clyde, Boothbay Harbor, and Harpswell, the program is limited, and

not all properties are appropriate for its use. In Portland, for example, the expenses associated

with working waterfront property along Commercial Street’s Waterfront Central Zone are too high and many of the wharves host a variety of other businesses, like restaurants and law firms, that are not within the guidelines of the program.

For some, relinquishing development rights is too great a cost to be able to participate in the program. While some fishing families are already planning for and training the next generation

of fishermen, others are uncertain about the potential of their families’ role in the future of the

fishing industry. This great uncertainty, along with the unpredictability of commercial fishing in

general, beget a need for extensive planning, thought, and consideration when deciding whether

WWAPP is an appropriate option for working waterfront owners.

There are also a fair amount of working waterfront properties that are not appropriate for the

program due to other circumstances such as the money required to repair the wharf is

comparatively small; the type of property, by definition, does not fall under the guidelines of the program, such as a public boat ramp used by commercial fishermen, boaters, and tourists; or,

the type of project or upkeep to the property is not specific to commercial fishing activity, such

as increasing parking for commercial fishermen.


The State of Maine's Working Waterfront is a report that shares information accumulated from interviews, conversations, meetings, and research to help elevate the value and attention paid to working waterfronts for commercial fishing and provide suggestions for how to protect this valuable part of Maine's food system and economy.

As MCFA started outreach to share some of the information in the report, well, 2020 happened. We are sharing parts of the report in blog posts and hope it will spark new conversations and continue to shine a light on the needs of Maine’s commercial fishing communities.

Together, we persevere.



bottom of page