Document Type



Maine Sea Grant College Program

Publication Date


Publisher location

Orono, ME

Abstract/ Summary

Maine’s fishing communities are experiencing the cumulative effects of fish stock depletion, state and federal regulations, coastal development and demographic changes, and rising fuel and energy costs.

Legally, federal fisheries managers must minimize adverse economic impacts of fishery regulations on fishing communities, yet too often data with which to do this are insufficient (Ingles and Sepez 2007). For example, National Standard 8 of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the federal legislation governing the management of marine resources in the U.S., requires that managers “take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities” and “provide sustained participation of” and “minimize adverse economic impacts on” such communities (Clay and Olson 2008). The National Environmental Policy Act also requires social impact assessments of federal actions, including the cumulative effects of action on the “human environment.” In response to these legal mandates and data gaps, social scientists have begun to develop and refine methodological approaches for defining fishing communities and conducting social impact assessments. An important component of social impact assessment is understanding the vulnerability and resilience of fishing communities (Clay and Olson 2008).

In 2010-2012, with funding from Maine Sea Grant, we explored how those living within fishing communities understand their resilience. We were especially interested in understanding the particular threats fishermen are facing and how they are responding to them. This report summarizes our findings, with additional background information on resilience and recommendations for Maine communities.


publisher's version of the published document