Voices of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum 2019 is a project of Maine Sea Grant, The First Coast, College of the Atlantic, and the Island Institute, with support from the Maine Fishermen’s Forum Board of Directors.
Butch Harris is a seasoned fisherman and summertime charter captain from Eastport, Maine. He has spent the majority of his life engaging in lobstering, scalloping, and urchin diving.
Scope and Content Note
Butch Harris talks about the community in his hometown, how he grew up and decided to stay in Eastport, the impact of the growing tourist economy on his home, the changing landscape of Downeast fisheries, and the history of his family in the area. He discusses several topics related to his concerns and experiences as a fisherman in Eastport, Maine. One of the main issues he mentions is the uncertainty surrounding bait for lobstermen and fishermen in general. He discusses the potential use of fish from other areas, such as pogies or Asian carp, to fill the bait gap. Harris also notes the sudden limits imposed by the state, stating that more notice would have been beneficial for fishermen to plan better. Harris reflects on his personal experience of receiving support from the community when his boat was damaged. He talks about the changing dynamics in the fishing industry, particularly the shift towards lobstering becoming a mainstay in Eastport. He also mentions concerns about the long-term sustainability of relying solely on lobstering and the potential impact of factors like codfish populations and trap reductions on the industry. Additionally, Harris discusses his involvement in the whale watching tourism business, the increase in tourists visiting the area, and the challenges and changes he has observed in the industry over the years. He mentions the loss of waterfront access and the impact of aquaculture, specifically salmon farms, in the region.
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