Date of Award

12-2012

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Marine Policy

Advisor

Teresa Johnson

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey Runge

Third Committee Member

James Wilson

Abstract

Maine hosts numerous small fishing villages that contribute greatly to the States economy and culture. The cumulative effects of state and federal regulation, stock depletion and other socio-economic trends threaten these communities. Drawing on ethnographic research and interviews, we examine how gentrification is affecting the vulnerability and resilience of fishing communities. This study has revealed gentrification to be a complex process, which is merely the most readily recognizable symptom of forces that are reshaping the post-industrial landscape. Fishing communities can no longer be thought of as discrete entities isolated from broad social and economic changes. Technology and new markets have unleashed fishing effort from its artisanal restraints, likewise they have enabled capital to expand beyond metropolitan barriers. Findings indicate that a rural restructuring has occurred and amenity migrants are being drawn to these communities. These people from away increase demand for services otherwise not provided and present new economic opportunities for community members and fishermen. However, as wealth migrates out of its metropolitan centers into these communities, it threatens to transform and displace productive economies with service economies. These trends may be beyond the capacity of fisheries management to account for, but policy makers should recognize their cumulative effects. The vulnerability framework readily provides a means of assessing fishing communities and the impact of gentrification on them. The characteristics of gentrification are unique for each community, though a few themes are prominent. Rather than being an entirely negative influence, gentrification can provide benefits for the community. Nevertheless, displacement of both people and the fishing industry may occur. The increased cost of living and process of gentrification is displacing many fishermen and community members from coastal property. Further conflicts arise when fishing operations and access to the waterfront is impeded. It is apparent that when facing the threat of displacement there is much that can be done at the state and municipal level in supporting access to the waterfront.