Stopping By Beals Island’s Working Waterfront

The term working waterfront means many things to many different people, but to me, the concept of a working waterfront must center on the ability for local fisherman to use the waterfront land that is available to them in any way possible as to maximize their profit and efficiency.

Beals Island, a geographically small piece of land that sits hard on the Moosabec Reach, exemplifies a powerful and steadfast commitment to preserving a working waterfront. This commitment is a staple of Washington County, where tiny fishing communities cling to the ocean’s edge and the majority of residents make their living from the numerous rivers and bays that surround them.

Beals, which is known for its long history of fishing and boatbuilding, looks north to Jonesport on the mainland and south to Great Wass Island, which is connected to the island by a small causeway. The island is surrounded by the deep waters of the gulf of Maine, where hundreds of lobstermen, shrimpers, scallopers, and groundfishermen ply their trade each and every day.

This is a place of work, a place where people tend to their boats when they are not fishing and fish when they are not tending to their boats. There is little gray area on a place like Beals Island, where the term working waterfront is more than just a way to describe the land, but a deep and steadfast commitment to give each and every fisherman a fighting chance.