By all measures Maine’s lobstering industry is an economic powerhouse, providing thousands of jobs and adding more than $1 billion annually to the state’s economy. This bright picture, however, belies two startling statistics: a very small percentage of Maine’s 3,500 mile coastline provides commercial access to fishermen and nearly half the licensed lobstermen are over the age of 50. Transitioning this industry to the younger generation, while preserving working waterfront access, is crucial to the future of Maine’s economy.
Purchased in 1978, Millers’ Wharf in Tenants Harbor serves as home base for a lobstering business operated by the four Miller brothers and their extended families. Over twelve years, CEI worked closely with the Millers, providing a loan in partnership with Key Bank to expand the wharf and dredge so that bait and catch can be off-loaded regardless of the tide. With CEI financing, the Millers added four hoists, increasing efficiency and the number of boats they could serve.
“Without CEI, this project never would have flown. It was clear from the start that CEI had an in-depth knowledge of the fishing industry and understood the importance of preserving the working waterfront.”–Hale Miller
CEI also helped the Millers secure the property through the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program, ensuring access not only for future generations of Miller fishermen, but to other Tenants Harbor fishermen as well.
“Protecting the working waterfront is critical to our state and coastal economies,” said Josh Miller, a third generation Miller who also is chair of the Lobster Advisory Council. “I learned to fish from my grandfather and my father off this wharf, and now I’m teaching my two young girls the trade. It’s reassuring to know this wharf will always remain an active fishing wharf not only for my girls, but for the community as a whole.”