The Port of New Bedford, Massachusetts is the most valuable fishing hub in the United States with landings of nearly $400 million crossing the docks every year. The city is a nexus of domestic and international seafood trade with more than 30 processors and distributors active in the city.
New Bedford has long been home to a robust fishing industry, beginning with the whaling industry in the late 1700s. The fishing industry is an important contributor to the city and regional economy. Blue Harvest Fisheries is proud to continue this tradition of hard work to provide you, our customer, with the highest quality product from sustainable sources. We are proud of our heritage and are committed to ensure that generations to come will benefit from important ocean resources.
Heritage of New Bedford’s Fishing Community
In 1780, William Rotch Jr., an entrepreneur and whaling merchant, moved to New Bedford and owned the area’s first whaling vessel. For the next 100 years, whaling became the mainstay of the region’s economy, propelling New Bedford to be one of the wealthiest towns in America. Moby Dick, the renowned novel written by Herman Melville (also the namesake for the street where Blue Harvest’s offices are located), was inspired by the true story of the fishing vessel Essex that was sunk by a large sperm whale. The New Bedford whaling museum has an annual non-stop reading of this classic novel.
With the whaling industry’s decline in the 1920s, the 1930s gave rise to the fishing industry’s growth with increased demand for seafood, notably scallops. In the period from 1960- 1990, the scallop industry shifted to yellowtail flounder, and back to scallops again. During that time, New Bedford’s fishing industry saw highs and lows, but eventually becoming the leading fishing port in the nation, thanks to its scallop fleets.
A veteran of the seafood business, Blue Harvest Fisheries’ CEO, Jeff Davis has worked in the industry for over 35 years. Jeff grew up in Acushnet, Massachusetts, just miles from the New Bedford port and he is deeply versed in the area’s rich heritage. “The industry is a like a family business that is filled with people who know fishing,” says Jeff. “We care about the product we’re distributing as it's coming from our family to yours.” That passion drives our company and demonstrates our commitment to go the extra mile to ensure the highest quality product.
Future of New Bedford and the Sustainability of the Seas
Today, New Bedford has a thriving seaport and seafood industry due to the collaboration and shared goals of fishermen, scientists, NGOs and government bodies to sustain wild fisheries.
Over the recent decades a focus on sustainability and traceability has come front and center. The Marine Stewardship Council formed in 1997 in pursuit of ensuring sustainable seafood. Having the MSC label on our food means that you can trust our product. Atlantic Sea Scallop was MSC-certified in 2003 and has become one of the most valuable fisheries in the U.S. Nearly 26,000 tonnes are harvested annually into New Bedford and distributed throughout U.S., European and Asian markets.
Blue Harvest Fisheries’ philosophy is to make strides in modern innovation, while also carrying on the legacy that made us who we are. Our fleet and production crews use time-tested practices, while innovating with modern sustainable practices to ensure our resources for years to come.