Southwest Harbor is located on the “quiet side” of Mount Desert Island. A town of multiple maritime industries, Southwest Harbor boasts a tradition of superior boatbuilding and, for the past two years, has emerged as one of the top ten highest grossing lobster ports in the state. With more than four million visitors at Acadia National Park in 2021, the pressures on this side of MDI are mounting. Increased summer visitorship means business is booming, but commuter traffic, dwindling resources, and a lack of a seasonal and year-round workforce incite questions about how to sustain and support this working town.
In this episode, we examine the history of Southwest Harbor’s decision, as a community, to maintain and support its commercial fisheries through zoning and regulations. Visiting two iconic Southwest Harbor businesses, Hinckley Yachts and Beal’s Lobster Pier, we explore the push-and-pull of Maine’s seasonal economy, and the challenges and opportunities where commercial fishing, maritime industries, and recreation meet.