Coastal Conversations 1/27/23: Gouldsboro, Maine

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

Coastal Conversations: Conversations with people who live, work, and play on the Maine coast, hosted by the University of Maine Sea Grant Program.

This month:
This episode features two distinct stories about Gouldsboro, Maine:

STORY 1: Gouldsboro, a working waterfront community at a crossroads
Today’s show features the second episode of this year’s From the Sea Up podcast series focused on Maine’s working waterfront towns. We’ll be headed to Gouldsboro, A historic fishing town with over 50 miles of coastline. In 2020, the Norwegian-backed company American Aquafarms proposed putting two closed-pen salmon farms, totaling 120-acres, in Frenchman Bay between Gouldsboro and Bar Harbor. Although American Aquafarm’s initial application for an aquaculture lease was terminated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources in the spring of 2022, a question about the future of Maine’s waters took hold in many rural coastal communities.
In this episode, From the Sea Up producers visit South Gouldsboro, a small and active working waterfront with stunning views of Cadillac Mountain and the proposed lease site. With perspectives from a seaweed farmer and cultivator, Sarah Redmond, as well as Jerry Potter, a longtime lobsterman, and Sebastian Belle from the Maine Aquaculture Association, this episode explores the identity and needs of one working waterfront community, and asks the question: What kind of working waterfront do people want to see here in the future? And what role does aquaculture play in that future?
This story is brought to you by our radio storytelling friend Galen Koch, whose podcast series, From the Sea Up, has been featured on Coastal Conversations before. Galen brings the past and present together to help us make sense of Maine’s complicated future. This is the second in a working waterfront series we will keep sharing over the next few months.

STORY 2: Gouldsboro: a legacy of sardines
You heard the narrator in our first story talk about American Aquafarms’ purchase of the Maine Fair Trade lobster processing facility in the Gouldsboro village of Prospect Harbor. While American Aquafarms’ intention is to someday convert the lobster processing operation into a salmon processing facility and hatchery, this plant was in the business of packing sardines for nearly 100 years. As the era of Maine’s sardine industry was coming to an end in the later part of the 20th century, and sardine packing plants were closing one by one up and down the Maine coast, the Stinson’s Sardine Cannery was the very last hold out. It’s final owner, Bumble Bee Foods, shuttered the sardine operation for good in 2010, making it not only the last sardine cannery in Maine, but the very last sardine cannery in the whole of the United States.

In 2011, the year after the sardine plant closed, oral historians from “Oral History and Folklife Research, Inc” sought to honor and document the Stinson Sardine Factory legacy by interviewing a number of former employees. In our second story today, we share some clips from two of these interviews with women who worked as sardine packers.


Sarah Redmond, Springtide Seaweed
Jerry Potter, lobsterman
Sebastian Belle, Maine Aquaculture Association

We’ll hear a short clip from the interview with Arlene Hartford, followed by a slightly longer clip from the interview with Lela Anderson. Both women were interviewed by Keith Ludden in 2011 and the full collection is available here

Other credits:
From the Sea Up is made possible by the Fund for Maine Islands through a partnership between Island Institute, College of the Atlantic, Maine Sea Grant, and the First Coast. Click here to hear past episodes and for more information

Thanks to the folks at “Oral History and Folklife Research, Inc” for permission to air these clips. You can access their full collections here. And thanks also to production assistant Camden Hunt, for helping edit the audio clips for this segment of today’s show. If you want to hear more about sardines, check out the Coastal Conversations for our August 28, 2020 episode called “Stories of the Sardine Industry” which features these clips and many more

About the host:

Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.