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Gloucester, MA

 

On the northshore of Massachusetts sits the oldest fishing port in the U.S., Gloucester. Settled in 1623, fishing, art and granite have been Gloucester’s mainstays. Gloucester is home to America’s oldest continuously operating seafood company, Gortons. Clarence Birdseye invented frozen foods in Gloucester, while Winslow Homer was painting her schooners. 

Celebrating Fishing

Gloucester demonstrates dedication to its fishing culture through numerous social events, cultural memorial structures, and organizations including the annual St. Peter’s Fiesta which began in 1927, the Gloucester Schooner Festival and the annual Fishermen’s Memorial Service, an annual tradition to honor fishermen lost at sea. The earliest recording of this ceremony was in the mid 1800s.

Recreational Fisheries

Gloucester is home to roughly a dozen fishing charter companies and party boats fishing for bluefin tuna, sharks, striped bass, bluefish, cod, and haddock. The Yankee Fleet offers deep sea fishing on their party boats on half-day, full-day, and overnight trips and charter fishing trips Sandy B Fishing Charters takes passengers in search of cod, haddock, tuna, and striped bass. Black Pearl Charters also has offshore trips for cod and haddock, and inshore trips for bluefish and striped bass.

Commercial Fisheries

Today, Gloucester is still an active fishing port. It boasts a famous ice house – Cape Pond Ice, featured in the movie the Perfect Storm.  A number of seafood suppliers, dealers, processors and retailers and vessel repair businesses operate in Gloucester. The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association (GFWA) was founded in 1969 by the wives of Gloucester fishermen. In 2001 they constructed a memorial statue to the fishermen’s wives of Gloucester. The Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund was established in 2007 to manage a project buying fishing permits from those interested in getting out of fishing and leasing them to others. Northeast Seafood Coalition is a non-profit, membership organization located in Gloucester, focused on representing the interests of commercial fishermen on political and policy issues. Cape Ann Fresh Catch, a community supported fishery (CSF) operates out of Gloucester.  A CSF is like a farm share, but for fish.

In 2013, Gloucester ranked 21 in the country in fish landings, bringing in 62 million pounds of fish, worth an estimated $42 million. The most important species for Gloucester are lobster, cod, Atlantic herring, pollock, sea scallops, monkfish, white hake, haddock, redfish, and bluefin tuna. 

Top species harvested in port: Groundfish, Lobster, Monkfish, Herring, Mackerel, Butterfish, Scallops.