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Vinalhaven, ME

The island town of Vinalhaven, Maine is located in Knox County in the south eastern portion of the state. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,165 covering a land area of 23.46 square miles. Traditionally, the economy of Vinalhaven relied upon fishing, farming, logging, boat building and, for women, the knitting of fish nets. Today, the town is home to a thriving lobster fishery and hosts a summer colony.

Celebrating Fishing

The Island Fishermen’s Wives Association supports the fishing community in many ways including school programs and scholarships, emergency financial assistance to fishing people and their families, ongoing commitment to preserve the fishing heritage and educating the public about the industry, as well as survival and safety education with help from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Commercial Fisheries

 Vinalhaven has a healthy fishing economy based on the size of the catch of its large lobster fishing fleet and claim to a significant portion of Penobscot Bay. The island has always been a big supplier of seafood to Portland, Boston and New York. At first, the fish was salted and dried. Then as technology developed, it was delivered canned, along with lobster. Fish glue, cut and packed fresh finfish, canned herring, fresh lobsters, scallops, shrimp and sea urchins were also delivered over time.

Vinalhaven has several packaging companies that ship lobster to Portland and other inland locations for processing and distribution. They include Vinalhaven Lobster Co., which packages lobster, and Vinalhaven Fishermen’s Co-op which operates as a wholesale lobster distributor. Vinalhaven has two wholesale companie;: Inland Seafood and Alfred Osgood. Several advocacy groups also operate on the island. The Vinalhaven Fishermen’s Coop is owned and operated by Vinalhaven’s lobstermen. It supplies lobstermen with bait and supplies, and distributes lobsters around the world. The coop is a member of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), which represents the interests of lobstermen up and down Maine’s coast.

Top species harvested in port: herring, lobster.