On the Coast, We All Hang Together

A very simple photograph, made over in Port Clyde. Really not much to it, yet when I saw this I thought immediately thought of Benjamin Franklin’s observation at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

You see, this is the motto of the draggermen/fishermen of Port Clyde, who are looking at long odds as they struggle to maintain their livelihoods in the face of diverse overwhelming pressures.

These fishermen and their families realized that it was only by working collaboratively within their own fleet, as well as embracing external partnerships that they have a fighting chance. Elsewhere in Maine, New England, around salt-water America and globally, traditional fisheries have been decimated, taking with them the cultures and communities founded upon the once-great resources of the seas.

Port Clyde Fresh Catch and other organizational entities have effectively evolved to address myriad issues ranging from environmental to marketing, financial to strategic, legislative to scientific.

They started this country’s first CSF (Community Supported Fishery), based on the well-established CFA (Community Supported Agriculture) movement that now flourishes around the United States. In this paradigm, consumers are introduced to their local food suppliers and proactively invest in them with the promise of fresh local fish/vegetables/meat/etc as the seasons play through.

It’s simple, it’s brilliant, and it’s working. And I say this having just returned from Newfoundland, where scores of ghost town outports bear stark and tragic witness to what happens with failure to organize and manage a once-fabled resource.

Will “The Boys” over in Port Clyde be successful? Only time will tell…but these are smart, hard-working and incredibly dedicated people and By God, they are hanging together — for dear life.

Check them out at http://www.portclydefreshcatch.com.