Maine Towns Move to Ban Cruise Ships

Areas of Mount Desert Island in Maine are working to become cruise-ship free, at least for the next six months, after a unanimous vote in Southwest Harbor recently, according to the Maine Public.

Residents of Northeast Harbor banned cruise ships from docking last year. Tremont is considering similar actions.

Hosting cruise ships can be a major economic boon, but the towns are concerned about infrastructure and traffic issues, according to the Bangor Daily News.

“There are two main concerns,” said Lydia Goetze, chairwoman of the Southwest Harbor Board of Selectmen. “Vessels of this size destroy a great deal of fishing gear. And the facilities in our town are not really equipped to deal with an influx of 200 people. So it’s not entirely clear to what the benefit to the town is, if anything.”

“We already have parking issues and worries about room for everybody,” added Tremont Harbor Master Justin Seavey.

It’s difficult to estimate the extent of gear loss from cruise ship visits, said Andy Mays, a lobster fisherman and chair of the harbor committee in Southwest Harbor. But he offered this example: “A big motor yacht that was in here a few weeks ago, that was 200 feet, I took 27 lobster traps out of,” Mays said. “They were really good about it, but they got hung up with them and that’s how many of them that they made it in with that had to be removed, so there would have been at least that amount that got torn off and not returned.”

This temporary ban should give Southwest Harbor officials time to poll residents and determine how to handle cruise ships, if they’re wanted at all, Goetze said.

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