Working waterfronts can be defined as places where the businesses that surround that waterfront are dependent on access to water, for deep-draft or shallow-draft boat passage and dockage. The area would be zoned for "water dependent use" and businesses within that zone would include seafood processing plants, commercial and sport fishing vessels, marine service and supplies, cargo handling, recreational and charter boat operations.
Over time, there have been changes in some working waterfronts. Fewer ports are now handling cargo, and tourism has increased, spurring the growth of new restaurants, hotels, and shopping areas. Ecotourism has grown, bringing with it a large contingent of birders, boaters, hikers, and beachcombers. Those changes, coupled with others, have made the Oregon coast a more attractive destination for retirees as well as for those who can work, via Internet, almost anywhere in the world.
The working waterfronts, or bayfronts, have become a stand-alone attraction, combining the workings of the fishing industry, as well as its harvests (fresh seafood) with other amenities enjoyed by visitors to the coast. This combination, along with dock- and water-based tours, also fosters education about marine life, the fisheries, and even a history of each area. And the benefits, including that of increased employment, enjoyment and recreation, are shared by the entire community.
Bil Dewey, Shellfish Farmer offers his perspective on how working waterfronts serve the shellfish industry.
Laura Anderson, Local Ocean Seafood Restaurant, provides the benefits of Newport's working waterfront.