NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The city of New Bedford has received $24 million in state funding to dredge what many consider the most valuable fishing port in the country.
City officials said dredging the New Bedford-Fairhaven Harbor will increase the port’s capacity, remove contaminated sediment, expand access channels, and allow room for upgrades to the port’s infrastructure.
The harbor, which is one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s largest superfund sites, processes more than a million pounds of seafood each day and is an economic boom not only for the region but for the state as a whole.
“For three centuries, the Port of New Bedford has been the foundation of Greater New Bedford’s economy,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said Tuesday. “Harbor dredging is a strategic investment that bolsters the competitive advantages of our maritime industries, especially commercial fishing and offshore wind energy.”
The dredging is expected to create approximately 700 new jobs in and around New Bedford while also generating $232 million in additional business revenue.
“Supporting the vitality of maritime industry is critical to the strength of both coastal communities and the entire Commonwealth,” Gov. Charlie Baker said.
“This money is essential to provide further economic growth for our incredible waterfront. This investment acknowledges that even when you are the best, there is always room for improvement,” Rep. Christopher Markey added.
Michael Quinn and his family recently purchased the former Revere Copper and Brass site, which sits along the harbor. Mitchell said that portion of the harbor will be dredged, allowing vessels to enter what will eventually be Quinn’s shipyard.
“It’s a good thing for the region, especially New Bedford,” Quinn said.
Quinn said because of the dredging, he will eventually be able to employ 50 to 100 people. He hopes to have his shipyard up and running within the next two years.
The dredging is expected to begin in January and should be completed by 2021.