The public is invited to a community potluck on Saturday, Nov. 12, to learn more about the challenges that threaten the future of Maine’s lobstering industry and what is being done to preserve the state’s lobstering heritage.
The event, called “All Hands on Deck,” will be held at Bailey Island Library Hall from 1-4 p.m.
“All hands on deck” is a signal used by ships in an emergency to indicate that all crew members are to head to the deck ready to help. The Maine lobster industry is in a crisis and it needs support from coastal communities and businesses that both serve and rely upon Maine lobstermen.
“Harpswell and the fishing community are both so incredibly important to my family and me,” said Monique Coombs, event organizer and fisherman’s wife. “My goal with this event is to not just raise money for the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, but to give fishing families and community members an opportunity to connect during a pretty scary time. I think everyone is feeling an immense amount of stress and it’s important for fishermen to know they are not alone.”
At the event, representatives from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association will join local fishing families to discuss onerous federal regulations that threaten the future of the lobster industry and the families and communities that rely on it. The event is open to anyone who wants to learn more and support the Maine families that depend on lobster.
“Maine’s lobster fleet directly supports more than 12,000 jobs on the water,” said Kristan Porter, Maine Lobstermen’s Association president and Cutler fisherman. “Communities like Harpswell are important to Maine’s fishing industry and the changes that are coming aren’t just going to impact fishermen; they are going to hurt the communities that fishermen live in, too. This is a good opportunity for people to come together to hear what’s going on and donate.”
Lobstermen in Harpswell landed more than $52 million worth of lobster in 2021. Harpswell is home to more than 300 lobstermen and there are many businesses that depend on the industry, including local restaurants, bait dealers and marine stores.
Joe Kenney, owner of Joe’s Ropes and Buoys, said, “As a lifelong resident, and now small-business owner, I know firsthand the importance the lobster industry has to Harpswell. My business is 100% dependent on lobstering, but every single business in town and surrounding towns would feel the effects if this industry were taken away — from landscapers to teachers, car salesmen to restaurants. Lobstering is more than a job for hundreds of Harpswell residents. It’s the heart and soul of this small community.”
While there is no charge to attend the event, organizers are asking attendees to consider contributing in some way, either by bringing a dish to share, assisting with setup and cleanup, or making a financial contribution to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association #SaveMaineLobstermen campaign. Donations will also be accepted at the event. Checks can be made out to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association with “Hands on Deck” in the memo line. A raffle will also be held.
For more information about the event, or to sign up to help, email Coombs at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the #SaveMaineLobstermen campaign, go to savemainelobstermen.org.