Working Waterfront Initiative
Case Study: Support for a Lobstermen's Co-op
When a prime piece of shorefront property--complete with boat shop and travel lift--came up for sale, lobstermen on Westport Island began talking among themselves. Lobsterman Dana Faulkingham recalls that gradually the conversation turned from wishful thinking to practical planning. Seventeen lobstermen began to work toward forming a cooperative that could secure the property. They hired a trustworthy business attorney who helped guide them through the incorporation and licensure process. It paid off, Faulkingham says, to "write a good set of by-laws because you need to live by them."
In three months, they were in operation--ready to make an offer on the property. Co-op members fronted the earnest money while the group sought and received loans from Farm Credit of Maine and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. Three months after the Northend Cooperative formed, it celebrated the purchase of its new property. Now, Faulkingham says, 17 lobstermen not only have a stable site to get fuel and bait and offload their catch, but one that will be there for the younger generations.
[Adapted from the Maine Coastal Program's newsletter, Maine Coastline, Summer 2003]
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