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Updated: July 18, 2023

Island Institute could get $1.5M to shore up lobster industry, coastal communities

dinghy on water File photo / Laurie Schreiber Nearly $1.5 million in federal funds would help the Island Institute to help vulnerable lobstering communities.

A $1.477 million infusion of federal funds could back the Island Institute’s efforts to strengthen the economic resilience of lobster industries and communities along coastal towns from Damariscotta to Eastport.

The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved the Fiscal Year 2024 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, which includes the expenditure. The bill will next be considered by the full Senate.

“The lobster industry has significantly impacted Maine’s economy and cultural identity for hundreds of years,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.  “As the vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to advocate for this funding as the appropriations process moves forward.” 

Island Institute President Kimberly Hamilton said the money would come “at a critical time” for the lobster industry.”

person in black sweater and checked shirt
Kimberly Hamilton.

The funding would support the Island Institute's work to strengthen economic resilience among the most vulnerable lobstering communities along the Maine coast by providing financial education, income diversification training, and business skill development for Maine lobstermen.

“We know first-hand that our coastal and island communities depend on jobs created in the lobster industry,” Hamilton said. “This project aims to build business resilience and entrepreneurship, support income diversification, and help people develop new skills to adapt to changes in the industry.  In turn, those communities most dependent on the lobster industry today will build a sustainable economic pathway for their future.”

The Island Institute, a Rockland nonprofit that works to sustain Maine’s island and coastal communities, was founded in 1983 and works with 120 island and coastal communities to strengthen economies, enhance education and share information and resources. It has an annual operating budget of $8 million.


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