Sam Flavin & Emma Fernald


On Little Cranberry Island off of Mount Desert, this couple is finding new ways to sustain Maine’s fishing industry through innovation, hard work, and commitment to a way of life. Grants from Island Institute helped jump start their efforts.

  • Adding scallop farming to their traditional lobstering work adds additional income and diversifies the local economy.
  • Creating a diving service business to serve aquaculturists and lobstermen helps local fishermen access critical services.

“We both would like to be an example of people within the (lobster) industry that are hopeful for its future but also interested in diversifying our income in other ways while being on the water.” – Emma Fernald, Island Institute Compass Workforce Grant recipient



Emma Fernald and Sam Flavin of Little Cranberry Island are two fishermen committed to working on the water. In addition to lobstering, they have started new ventures—a small-scale scallop farm and diving services for fishermen and aquaculturists. With the help of Compass Workforce Grants from Island Institute, both were able to make headway in their businesses. Emma was able to purchase equipment to collect young scallops (or spat), and Sam had the chance to complete his diving certification and buy cold water scuba gear.

Climate change and shifting regulations create uncertainty for the lobster fishery and the people who depend on it. But creating more opportunities to work on the water can be a way to manage an unpredictable fishery. Together, we can stand behind innovators like Sam and Emma and provide fishing communities with the enduring support they need to build a resilient working waterfront.

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