From the Sea Up

Island Institute

From the Sea Up shares stories of sustainability from Maine’s coastal and island communities. Produced by the Island Institute. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture


Working Waterfronts - Boothbay Harbor
Mar 30 2023
Working Waterfronts - Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Harbor is one of Maine’s tourist playgrounds with art galleries, souvenir shops, restaurants, and hotels that cater to summer visitors. If you drive past the shops and condominiums along the waterfront you will see, sandwiched in and among lobster restaurants and marinas, four commercial piers with buying stations, bait companies, and other marine services that support a vibrant generational fishing community.  This is the East Side of Boothbay Harbor. In 2019, Boothbay Harbor residents voted, by a small margin, to downsize the marine use district on this side of the harbor to just 23%, allowing for 77% of the area to be used for limited commercial use. That decision was yet another blow to commercial fishermen and marine business owners in a years-long struggle to fend off development. In response to increased pressures on working waterfront access, nonprofit groups like the Boothbay Region Maritime Foundation and Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation, as well as local business owners, have come up with innovative and varying solutions to sustain Boothbay Harbor’s fishing heritage. In this episode, we’ll explore the challenges, solutions, and future needs of these organizations and individuals. What do you lose if you lose commercial access? And who should care about it?This podcast is made possible by the Fund for Maine Islands and a partnership between the Island Institute, College of the Atlantic, Maine Sea Grant, and The First Coast.
Working Waterfronts -  Deer Isle, Stonington
Jan 24 2023
Working Waterfronts - Deer Isle, Stonington
Nestled within an archipelago in Penobscot Bay, Stonington Harbor is a bustling working waterfront at the southern end of the island of Deer Isle. The towns of Stonington and Deer Isle share an island and a public school system, deep family ties, a culture rooted in commercial fishing and art, and, like much of the nation, a dire housing crisis. In these towns there are simply not enough places for working people to live. Over twenty years ago, a small group of passionate Islanders began brainstorming and researching one solution to the housing problem. In 2020 that group, Island Workforce Housing, broke ground on the construction of five homes, each containing two year-round rentals. This is just one solution to a monumental issue facing this island and other communities in Maine and around the country. In this episode, we'll learn about some of the history behind this community's housing crisis and what, specifically, is at risk if there are no long-lasting solutions for year-round housing. And we’ll learn about two solutions that these communities are exploring: building year-round rental homes, and potentially regulating short-term rentals.  This episode was written and produced Galen Koch and assistant producer Olivia Jolley for the Island Institute. Nicole Wolf takes the photographs that accompany this episode. From the Sea Up’s Senior Editor is Isaac Kestenbaum. Thanks to Kathleen Billings, Linda Nelson, and the town of Stonington for participation in this episode. Thanks to Island Workforce Housing, specifically Henry Teverow, Maggie Kirsch, and Megan Dewey Wood. Special thanks to Anna and Ryan Woosley and their family for welcoming us into their home. This podcast is made possible by the Fund for Maine Islands and a partnership between the Island Institute, College of the Atlantic, Maine Sea Grant, and The First Coast.For more information about ongoing work in the Town of Stonington to address the housing crisis, visit:
Working Waterfronts - Southwest Harbor
Nov 23 2022
Working Waterfronts - Southwest Harbor
Southwest Harbor is located on the “quiet side” of Mount Desert Island. A town of multiple maritime industries, Southwest Harbor boasts a tradition of superior boatbuilding and, for the past two years, has emerged as one of the top ten highest grossing lobster ports in the state. With more than four million visitors at Acadia National Park in 2021, the pressures on this side of MDI are mounting. Increased summer visitorship means business is booming, but commuter traffic, dwindling resources, and a lack of a seasonal and year-round workforce incite questions about how to sustain and support this working town. In this episode, we examine the history of Southwest Harbor’s decision, as a community, to maintain and support its commercial fisheries through zoning and regulations. Visiting two iconic Southwest Harbor businesses, Hinckley Yachts and Beal’s Lobster Pier, we explore the push-and-pull of Maine’s seasonal economy, and the challenges and opportunities where commercial fishing, maritime industries, and recreation meet.Resources:MCP website: Maine Coastal Program | Department of Marine ResourcesShore and Harbor Grant: Shore and Harbor Planning Grants | Department of Marine Resources ( – the program statement for the current year’s grant can be found on this pageShore and Harbor Case Studies: Case Studies | Department of Marine Resources ( This page has a map showing the locations of towns MCP funded, a list of funded projects, some write-ups about previous projects, and a story map highlighting last year’s MCP projects.Resources for preserving commercial fishing access: Coastal Access | Department of Marine Resources ( This document has a list of state grants that could be useful for improving and protecting shore access, as well as grants that can be used for waterfront construction.Penobscot Bay Study: Penobscot Bay_Summary Report 12 23 19.pdf ( This study by MCP took a really detailed look at a number of working waterfron