New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry

Industry Overview

The Port of New Bedford has led the seafood industry as America’s #1 fishing Port for over a decade – valued at $369 million. The Port is home to more than 40 processors and distributors. The Port contains boatyards, ice houses, welders, net designers, engineers, maritime attorneys, and a skilled commercial fishing workforce. The Port also handles non-seafood cargo (petroleum, aggregates, imported fruit) – totaling 280,000 tons in 2015.

New Bedford is also home to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), a nationally and internationally recognized research institution. SMAST’s cutting-edge research projects emphasize interdisciplinary basic-to-applied marine sciences and the development of innovative technologies.

SMAST is expanding its footprint, with a $55 million, 76,000 square foot facility in collaboration with the state Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to create major marine science hub in New Bedford. The expansion will bring more than 150 faculty, students, and staff of SMAST and DMF together to engage in education, research and policy related to commercial fishing, coastal preservation, ocean observation, and climate change.

New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry

  • New Bedford’s proximity to renowned fishing locations such as Georges Bank, the Great South Channel, and Nantucket Shoals makes it an ideal location for a commercial fishery.
  • The port of New Bedford holds one of the only fish auctions remaining in the United States.
  • There are numerous offloading facilities where fishermen are able to unload their catches. Normal catches contain fish that ranges from haddock and cod to shellfish such as scallops.
  • Over 4,400 people are employed by New Bedford’s commercial fishing port.
  • In 2011, the fleet unloaded upwards of 117 million pounds of seafood resulting in 369 million in direct sales.

Key Companies/Organizations

Workforce Resources