Building an economy and a food system upon a wild resource is a challenge because it requires operating within the bounds of the ecosystem that is providing that wild food. This presents a governance and business challenge that is made more difficult as we recognize, principally because the changing climate forces us to do so, that the ocean is a complex system — one that is not predictable. Meeting this challenge successfully matters because Maine’s coastal communities depend upon fishing, particularly in Hancock and Washington Counties which are the two most fishery dependent counties in the US. Maine can meet this challenge through adaptive, community-based co-management, a licensing system that supports both stewardship and diversified, small-scale fishing businesses, and a shoreside infrastructure that interfaces with the rest of the food system at a scale that reinforces stewardship and provides a fair price to the fisherman.

Robin Alden is the Executive Director of Penobscot East Resource Center, a non-profit organization in Stonington, Maine whose mission is to sustain the fisheries and fishing communities of eastern Maine. She served as Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources under Governor Angus King where she initiated the Maine lobster zones which is recognized as an effective example o

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