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Keep America's Waterfronts Working Act Statements of Support

Washington, DC, November 2, 2017

"Working waterfronts are an integral part of the nation's coastal and Great Lakes economy and culture. Working waterfronts face multiple challenges, including permanent conversion to non-water-dependent uses and storm damage to already compromised waterfront infrastructure. Businesses that depend on working waterfront, from commercial fishermen to tour boat operators to waterborne trade, need solutions to work with states and municipalities to protect and enhance these critical economic assets."
--Natalie Springuel, a founder of the National Working Waterfront Network and extension associate with Maine Sea Grant.

“As a lobsterman working on the regional ocean planning process, I've always said that fishermen need two basic things; a healthy stock to fish on, and the ability to access that resource. That access begins in the harbor at the shoreline. Without places to work on, store, load and unload, their catch, gear and boats, fishing, as we know it in Maine, will cease to exist.”
--Richard Nelson, Fishermen, Friendship, Maine.

“Working waterfronts are an integral part of coastal economies. In Maine, tens of thousands of jobs are connected to working waterfronts. Federal efforts such as Congresswoman Pingree’s Keep America’s Working Waterfronts bill are so important to rural economic health. In Rockland Maine, for example, the Municipal Fish Pier has been an integral part of the midcoast working waterfront for many decades.  It is one of a very few deep-water docks in the region where herring carriers and sein boats can land their catch, and this is vital to the entire Maine lobstering bait industry.  Over 25 local lobstermen, scalloper draggers and islanders use this pier to land catch, take on supplies, and maintain their vessels.  There are three buying stations on site. There also is a proposal to moor the only marine fuel delivery service vessels for the entire midcoast of Maine delivering vital fuel to local island communities for home heating and commercial vessels. The future of this pier depend depends on many resources, including those from the federal government. The current condition of the pier barely sustains operations.  The pier fendering system, deck, and electrical systems are well beyond their expected service life and need to be replaced.  Dredging is vital since even shallow draft lobster boats are unable to land their catch at lower tide conditions, drastically reducing production.  Necessary improvements are estimated at least $1.4 million.  Federal programs that recognize the economic benefits of working waterfronts, contribute to their continued health and bring resources together to address needs are important – both locally and to the regional industries that depend on them.”
--Matt Ripley,Harbor Master for Rockland, Maine.

 “(Because of a state program for working waterfronts) we were able to pay off our debt and keep from selling out. Second and maybe more important, a fishermen’s Co-op was formed that not only includes three generations of my family using the wharf but also other local fishermen. We have paired with Luke’s Lobster/Cape Seafood to form a vertically integrated entity. Our lobster not only supplies Luke’s chain but also Whole Foods. Each year the coop members put on an island cleanup where we donate our time, boats, effort to pick trash from local islands. The coop has spawned Maine’s only aquaculture Co-op with members into year two of scallop aquaculture. In a short period of time the WWF money has lead to more diversification for our fishermen and potentially the coast. This is a program that is a star in the state of Maine and I can only believe that a national program can shine just as brightly.”
--Peter Miller, lobsterman/aquaculturist, Tenants Harbor, Maine 

"Fishermen depend on the working waterfront for their businesses to survive and as it disappears so does the soul of the communities that fishing has been a part of for generations. Protecting working waterfronts is the best way to support Maine fishermen who brave the stormy waters of the Gulf of Maine to bring us delicious and healthy seafood to enjoy."
--Maine Coast Fishermen Association

“With a history of boatbuilding that spans more than 400 years in Maine, we are delighted to see that Rep. Pingree has continued her efforts to ensure the protection of working waterfronts for the businesses, people and communities whose livelihoods and economies are dependent on access to the water. The very real pressures of rising property rates, property taxes and the costs of regulatory compliance take their toll on the predominantly small business – for our members who are boatbuilders, marinas, repair facilities and others - who must operate at the water’s edge. These entities can benefit from the relief that various components of H.R. 1176 offer and we are hopeful that this important legislation will pass. We also look forward to being part of the solution by working with federal, state, and local governments and other partners to provide a brighter future for Maine’s working waterfronts.” 
--Susan Swanton, Executive Director, Maine Marine Trades Association

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