Maine’s greatest economic strengths since its beginning have been its forests and waters, which provide wood products, water power, fisheries, and ocean commerce. In 2004, Maine landings which include the main ports of Rockland and Portland brought in 315.8 million dollars, the third highest levels of commerce in the nation. The most valuable fishery product in Maine is the lobster, and it is also the leading state in soft shell clam catches as well as large amounts of flounder, halibut, shrimp, and scallops. The processing plants for these fish are throughout the state and employ almost 2,000 citizens. The state is also home to nine inland fish hatcheries and two national fish hatcheries, along with fifteen trout farms. Fishing as a sport is also popular in Maine, and as of 2004 there were 270,689 licensed sports fishing participants in the state.
Maine’s popular lighthouse-laden coastline has contributed in making tourism one of Maine’s top industries, bringing in about 3.8 billion in revenue a year. More than half of Maine’s income from tourism is brought in during the summer months as visitors head to the coast to enjoy the sandy beaches, icy surf, and several small harbors that are perfect for sailing and saltwater fishing. Cruise ships bring tourists into the areas of Portland and Bar Harbor, who then spend the day shopping or going on one of the many possible shore excursions hosted by locals who want to further display their beautiful coast. The high level of visitor traffic also leads to growth in the state’s accommodation and food services sectors, which has led to roughly 85,500 jobs in Maine being tied to the tourism industry.