Fishing in New Bedford: 3 centuries and still going strong

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — For three centuries, fishing has been a way of life in New Bedford – and it’s still going strong.

In its heyday in the mid-1800s, the city was the undisputed hub of the global whaling industry. Scholars say more ships sailed out of New Bedford alone than every other American port combined.

Grand homes overlooking the harbor still stand as testimony to the fortunes amassed by the sea captains of yesteryear. Their rooftop widow’s walks underscore the dangers faced in earning that wealth.

Commercial fishing isn’t nearly as lucrative now as it was then, and whales certainly are no longer part of the equation. But it’s still a viable industry, and New Bedford’s piers are alive with the sights, sounds and smells of the trade.

When they’re not hauling in squid, red crabs, herring and halibut, fishermen tinker with the sputtering engines on their trawlers and mend their huge nets – just as their forerunners did.


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