Coastal Conversations 2/23/24: From the Sea Up

Producer/Host: Galen Koch

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 program features an episode of Island Institute’s podcast, From the Sea Up. We’ll travel to Southwest Harbor, a town of multiple maritime industries on the “quiet side” or Mount Desert Island. 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.

Justin Snyder, Dock Manager, Beal’s Lobster Pier.
Kathleen Leyden, Director of the Maine Coastal Program.
Melissa Britsch, Senior Planner at the Maine Coastal Program.
Kirk Ritter, General Manager at Hinckley Yachts.

About the hosts:

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.

Catherine Devine is the recipient of the 2023-2024 Cathy and JIm Gero Acadia Early Career Fellowship in Science Communication at Schoodic Institute. She is the producer of season 2 of Schoodic’s Sea to Trees podcast and a graduate of New York University.