PUTTING IN WORK: New Bedford’s 2012 Working Waterfront Festival, an annual salute to the city’s commercial-fishing industry.
COURTESY NEW BEDFORD WORKING WATERFRONT FESTIVAL
By Rhonda J. Miller PBN Staff Writer
She never worked on a fishing boat, but CPA Anne Jardin knows the fishing industry inside out from her work at Jardin and Dawson Inc., in New Bedford, which provides an extensive range of financial services for those who work on the water.
“You can’t deliver mail to fishing boats. We do everything from getting their mail, to paying for ice and fuel, to tax work, to payables and receivables,” said Jardin, a New Bedford native who lives in Dartmouth.
From Jardin and Dawson offices across the street from the state pier, Jardin has seen a lot of the owners of small boats go out of business and sell their boats as the industry shifted to new regulations, high fuel and other operating costs.
“One of the things that’s changed is that the boats could go fishing whenever they wanted to, but now they have a certain number of days at sea or operate under quotas,” said Jardin.
Some of the changes Jardin has witnessed will be in a display that includes charts of changing fuel prices and copies of payroll settlements from many years at New Bedford’s 2013 Working Waterfront Festival on Sept. 28-29.
The festival is a salute to the city’s commercial fishing industry, which generates about $5.5 billion in economic impact annually for the region, based on 2010 data, said Laura Orleans, director of the Working Waterfront Festival.
“We are the No. 1 port in the nation in terms of dollar value of landings. This is largely due to the scallop industry, with scallops selling for about $12 per pound at auction,” said Orleans.
Not all of the 300 boats docked in New Bedford are actively fishing, but the port and related businesses have earned recognition as a hub port servicing boats from Virginia to Maine, said Orleans.
While the available services are outstanding, the industry is challenging, said Capt. Shawn Machie, of the F/V Apollo, who has been fishing since he was a teenager.