Gloucester is a fishing town with both triumph and loss. Seafaring and fishing have always been, and will continue to be, a very dangerous undertaking. Gloucester, Massachusetts has lost more than 10,000 fishermen to the sea since its founding almost 400 years ago. The Gloucester Fresh Seafood is proud to be a major part of such a rich and important history.

  • 1600s

    During the early years of settlement and exploration Gloucester’s deep water harbor quickly attracted European attention especially by travelers from England who landed here in 1623 to fish and to establish a township. The entire “fleet” by the late 1600s comprised of six sloops, one boat, and one shallop. From these humble beginnings Gloucester Massachusetts  thus became the country’s first fishing port.

  • 1700s

    By the 1700s, Gloucester’s fishery reached a volume which might allow them to be called an “industry.” During this era a new type of vessel called a “schooner” was built in Gloucester and with it heralded a new era of Gloucester’s history. Due to the innovations in shipbuilding, Gloucester fishermen were able compete with European counterparts by fishing in one of the richest fishing areas known as the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Unfortunately the American Revolution halted the growth of the fishing industry and devastated Gloucester’s fishing fleet, which became a target of British warships.

  • 1800s

    During this era America was experiencing an immigration boom and Gloucester’s port was an attractive area to settle for many immigrants who had knowledge of fishing and shipbuilding. This new fishing industry supported wave after wave of immigrants from Nova Scotia, Italy, Ireland and Portugal who came to fish the waters off Cape Ann and find work in the fishing industry. Every new group of immigrants to Gloucester brought a unique culture to the growing city. This unique blend of cultures is still experienced in Gloucester today and celebrated by many through the St. Peter’s Fiesta every June.

  • 1900s

    The Industrial Revolution of this era introduced more technology and replacement of older fishing vessels. This new technology brought with it concerns for the sustainability of the industry and regulation began in earnest. Quotas and government policies were put into place that left the fishing industry vulnerable.

  • 2000s

    Since the turn of the century, the industry has been relatively stable. Today the descendants of those first settlers from Italy and Portugal still ply the waters of Georges Bank that long has served as a smorgasbord for bottom-feeding groundfish such as cod, haddock, redfish, and flounder.