Coastal Access

Photo of boat ramp leading into the water

Photo by Melissa Britsch (MCP)

Resources for Preserving Commercial Fishing Access (PDF, 17 pages, 600 kb)

During the January 2022 Shellfish Advisory Council meeting, harvesters discussed concerns about accessing intertidal mudflats in their towns and shared solutions and funding sources. Issues mentioned included the loss of informal walk-in access as properties change hands; increased turnover in land ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic; crowding and parking shortages at municipal facilities; and safety concerns and increased costs related to longer transit times in small boats to harvest areas.

Based on the discussion, Maine Coastal Program staff created a document with information about potential funding opportunities, examples of successful water access solutions, and information about potential partners.
We hope that this document is useful for municipal elected officials and volunteer committees, harvesters, landowners, and others trying to find ways to maintain and increase coastal access in Maine. MCP acknowledges that this document is not exhaustive. Please let us know of additional information we could add.

Other Resources

Accessing the Maine Coast (Update coming soon!)

Working Waterfront Inventory Template

Created by Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and Tidal Bay Consulting, this template can be used by coastal communities to gather data about their working waterfronts and incorporate that information into comprehensive plans and coastal ordinances.

Organizations supporting coastal access

Multiple Maine organizations support commercial and recreational access to Maine’s coast. Below is a list of many, but certainly not all, groups. If you would like your organization to be added, please contact Melissa Britsch (

  • Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
    • Bureau of Public Lands
    • Land for Maine’s Future Program
  • Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
  • Casco Bay Regional Shellfish Working Group
  • Maine Shellfish Learning Network
  • Tidal Bay Consulting
  • Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association
  • Manomet
  • Maine Sea Grant 
  • Sea Meadow Marine Foundation
  • Island Institute
  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
  • Gulf of Maine Research Institute
  • Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries
  • Many coastal land trusts (see the Maine Land Trust Network website for a list and map of Maine land trusts)
  • Maine Island Trail Association
  • National Working Waterfront Network


Page updated May 2023