The captain and mate of the F/V Rose Marie offload the catch. Photo by Phillip Mello

The story of New Bedford’s fishing community is being shared through the efforts of a newly established non-profit organization, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, Inc. (FHC). A monthly film series, a 12-week school residency, a 2-week summer camp, and two temporary exhibits are already underway. The Center will also conduct an inventory of fishing community artifacts and develop an interactive website with digital exhibits and current industry information.

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is looking for a permanent home and plans to establish a physical facility with archives, exhibits, and programs dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the history and culture of New Bedford’s fishing industry. Over the next year or so, the FHC will hold focus groups and meetings with members of the fishing industry, educators and others to solicit community input as exhibits and programs are developed.

The FHC is a community driven organization with a board of directors made up of individuals who work in, or closely with, the fishing industry. Phillip Mello (Chair) is the Manager of Bergie’s Seafood. Anne Jardin-Maynard (Treasurer) is owner of Jardin & Dawson Settlement House. Kirsten Bendiksen (Secretary) is co-owner of Reidar’s Manufacturing (a gear shop). Cassie Canastra is co-owner of Bela Flor Seafood and her father and uncle own and operate BASE (seafood auctions in New Bedford and Gloucester). Kevin Stokesbury is the Chair of the Department of Fisheries Oceanography at SMAST at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Madeleine Hall-Arber is the maritime anthropologist at MIT Sea Grant who has worked with the fishing industry for over 30 years. Laura Orleans, Executive Director of the Fishing Heritage Center, is a folklorist and founding director of the Working Waterfront Festival. The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization. For more information contact the Center at 508-993-8894 or nbfishingheritagecenter@gmail.com

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