Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Teresa Johnson , Anna Henry, Cameron Thompson
  • This project developed a participatory, place-based approach for assessing the vulnerability and resilience of Maine fishing communities, documenting threats and resources available to respond to those threats. To understand the forces driving vulnerability, Johnson and graduate students Cameron Thompson and Anna Henry worked with community stakeholders to identify opportunities and strategies for improving resilience of fishing communities. They produced a summary report, entitled, “In Their Own Words: Fishermen’s Perspectives of Community Resilience.” 

    Once upon a time, Maine fishermen and women harvested a diversity of species, from groundfish and herring to lobsters, clams, shrimp, and scallops, depending on market conditions and resource abundance. Today, Maine’s fishing culture is concentrated in 50 coastal communities and is overwhelmingly dependent on lobster, while regulations have restricted other fisheries. Since 1990, the number of vessels landing groundfish in Maine dropped from 350 to 70. At least 72 groundfish permits have been lost, and dramatic changes in management are imminent, leading Johnson to wonder, “How vulnerable are Maine’s fishing communities? What can be done to improve their resiliency to future change?”

    These are the questions that federal fisheries managers must ask when assessing the impact of new rules, yet too often they don’t have the right data to answer the questions. This project developed a participatory, place-based approach for assessing the vulnerability and resilience of Maine fishing communities, documenting threats and resources available to respond to those threats. To understand the forces driving vulnerability, Johnson and graduate students Cameron Thompson and Anna Henry worked with community stakeholders to identify opportunities and strategies for improving resilience of fishing communities.

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Leonard E. Young III

Interview with fisherman Leonard E. Young, III, born September 9, 1944 in Bar Harbor, Maine. Young describes his entry into the commercial fisheries and discusses both lobstering and groundfish fishing.
 

Sara Randall, Mike Kersula Bar Harbor, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
Russell Wright

Interview with Marine Patrol officer Russell Wright. In this interview, Wright shares perspectives on the community of Lubec and his work in law enforcement.

Anna Henry Lubec, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
Allison Wilson

Interview with Allison Wilson, born January 24, 1931, in Rockland, Maine. In this interview, Wilson discusses aspects of his fishing career and changes in Downeast Maine during his lifetime.

Cameron Thompson Rockland, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
John Williams

Interview with fisherman John Williams.  In this interview, he discusses his career fishing for groundfish and lobsters out of Stonington, Maine.

Mike Kersula Stonington, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
Wayne Wilcox

Wayne Wilcox was born in 1954 in Eastport, Maine. In this interview with Hollis Matthews, he describes fishing in Downeast Maine and changes in the region over time.

Anna Henry Eastport, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
Richard A. Whitman

Interview with Richard Whitman, born 11/15/1962, in Rockland, Maine. Whitman discusses his experiences in the fishing industry, his background and changes in his coastal community.

Cameron Thompson Rockland, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
Clifford D. West

Interview with Clifford West, born December 23, 1942 in Steuben, Maine.  In this interview, West describes his work in the groundfish fishery beginning in 1978.
 

Sara Randall Steuben, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
Stanley Sargent

Interview with Maine fisherman Stanley Sargent. Sargent was born on March 11, 1965 in Stonington, ME and lived in Millbridge at the time of the interview. He started commercial fishing in 1972.
 

Sara Randall Milbridge, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
Glenn Robbins

Glenn Robbins was born in January of 1947 in Castine, Maine. In this interview, he discusses his work teaching industrial arts and as a commercial fisherman. He has been fishing commercially since 1978.
 

Cameron Thompson Eliot, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities
Dana Rice

Fisherman Dana Rice discusses his time in the fishing industry and changes to the community of Birch Harbor, Maine.

Sara Randall Birch Harbor, ME University of Maine Assessing Vulnerability and Resilience in Maine Fishing Communities