Maine’s commercial fishermen are confronting declining stocks of many fish species and stagnant prices for others, while costs of bait, ice, and fuel have increased. This situation has resulted in decreased incomes and greater risk. Maine fishermen need to retool their fishing strategies to minimize costs that are directly related to the price of fossil fuels. These challenges are experienced by fishermen across the nation, and Maine fishermen and support institutions can learn from lessons and experiences elsewhere. In 2010, Maine Sea Grant provided funding to Dick Clime and Hugh Cowperthwaite of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. to attend the Energy Use in Fisheries Conference in Seattle, WA, as part of their efforts to assist the Maine commercial fishing sector with adoption of energy efficient strategies, methods, and equipment use that can lower (or at least hold the line on) their costs of landing a pound of fish or shellfish.
Upon their return, Clime and Cowperthwaite partnered with the Island Institute to host a series of workshops to share what they learned about energy efficiency options with Maine's commercial fishing and seafood processing industries.
Additional goals include identifying energy efficiency projects that qualify for CEI’s funding and economic incentive programs, and exploring potential expansion of the Efficiency Maine Program to the marine fisheries and seafood processing sector. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to help stabilize the long term viability of Maine’s commercial fishing industry infrastructure through investment in energy efficient business practices.