Lincolnville fishermen want to comment on harbor study

By Susan Mustapich | Mar 16, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Attorney Dave Perkins spoke on behalf of Lincolnville Harbormaster Mike Hutchings, saying that in regard to the recent harbor study, a respectful tone that allows for dialog is appreciated.

LINCOLNVILLE — The chairman of the Harbor Committee and the assistant harbormaster asked consultants from Collins Engineers to set up a meeting with fishermen at a presentation March 13 of the final draft of a study of Lincolnville Harbor.

Nick Heal, Harbor Committee chairman, asked that the meeting take place in early April, so that it could include Harbormaster Mike Hutchings who is on vacation.

Collins Engineers consultants Dan O'Connor and landscape architect Mitchell Rasor, who authored the study, will be assisted in coordinating dates for the meeting by Interim Town Administrator Jodi Hanson.

Assistant Harbormaster Kendall Smith said there was a need for the meeting, and that there were a number of fisherman who had not been interviewed for the study.

The study was approved by the Select Board in January 2016, and Collins Engineers was selected in April 2016. The consultants held a series of publicly advertised outreach meetings, as well as private interviews with members of the Lincolnville business community, concerned citizens, town officials and committee members from Lincolnville, Islesboro and neighboring communities.

Attorney Dave Perkins was present at the meeting to represent Hutchings.

"Mike has worked for a long time, very hard for the town," Perkins said. He referred to harbor issues reviewed in 2006, and said at that time there was a decision "to strongly support the commercial fishery and I think that has worked out well."

"We appreciate the fact in the report that there's a recognition that there has been a strong focus on the commercial fishery and just hope that the tone stays respectful and allows for dialog, so we all get to good decisions," Perkins said.

Rick McLaughlin, owner of McLaughlin's Lobster Shack, agreed with Perkins, saying he was also Hutchings' friend and did business with him. McLaughlin spoke about how Hutchings and other fishermen rescued passengers on a boat that capsized and moved a burning boat out of harm's way to the outer harbor.

"It's a good feeling to know that when you're out on a boat, and you're in the harbor, that you've got all these professionals around who can assist you at any time," McLaughlin said. "I don't know if we will get that with a professional harbormaster, but I would like that recognized."

McLaughlin also spoke about the importance of the small, commercial fishery at Lincolnville Harbor and how a recommendation in the harbor report to limit one mooring to one person could affect that.

"All the lobstermen share a lobster car that's owned by Hutchings," he said. "Right now the state allows it to be tied up to the state pier, but at any time they can say it can't be kept there anymore." He said when there are storms, the car has to be on four moorings on each side to hold it in place.

With the lobster car, the lobstermen pool their catch. They sell it in Lincolnville for probably 25 more cents a pound, and we pay 25 cents less a pound, and we get better lobsters. If we buy from a wholesaler, they take the pound and a halves out, they take the lobsters with the best meat content and ship them to Florida and we just get stuck with the rest. That car and those moorings are very, very important."

Board of Selectman Chairman Ladleah Dunn asked O'Connor about the date for finalizing the study and if he felt there was anyone he still needed to interview. O'Connor said he hoped to have an interview with Hutchings. O'Connor said he had spoken to Hutchings before and after a couple of the public meetings, but there was difficulty in scheduling an interview.

O'Connor said he hoped to have the harbor study finalized within the next few weeks.

Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at smustapich@villagesoup.com.

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Susan M Mustapich
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Susan Mustapich is a staff reporter with The Camden Herald covering Camden and Lincolnville.

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