Massachusetts Seafood Suppliers | Commercial Fishing in New England

Nick Mirev
Table of Contents
    Thank you! Please check your inbox now for your welcome email.
    There was an issue with the form. Please try again.

    Seafood is deeply rooted in New England cuisine. That’s because commercial fishing has been one of the main economic activities in the region for centuries. There are multiple seafood restaurants and wholesale seafood distributors in Massachusetts and other Northeastern states. 

    The most popular type of Massachusetts seafood is the sea scallop. In addition to scallops, the seafood industry in New England is the place where the majority of American lobsters and oysters are caught.

    In this article, we’ll share more about the fishing sector of Massachusetts and other New England states. We’ll also give you a list of some of the renowned wholesale seafood suppliers from the area.

    Key takeaway: Some of the biggest fishing ports are located in Massachusetts and the New England region. The main types of seafood caught in the area include scallops, lobsters, oysters, and other shellfish.
    BlueCart ebooks and resources

    The Massachusetts Seafood and Fishing Industry

    Massachusetts is home to two of the most important commercial fishing ports in the US – New Bedford and Gloucester. The New England region is also home to other fishing ports and communities where seafood is one of the primary industries. 

    Here are some facts about the New England and Massachusetts seafood industry:

    1. An increase in demand. The health benefits of seafood have been one of the main reasons for the increased consumption of these products. That’s why the price of some seafood items caught in the area has increased.
    2. There are various seafood dishes in the local cuisine. The abundance of fish and the limited agricultural opportunities in the New England region have led to the usage of seafood as one of the primary food sources. That’s why Northeastern cuisine is known for and dominated by seasonal seafood dishes.
    3. Sustainability in commercial fishing. In recent decades, there has been an increase in regulations on commercial fishing. Both businesses and governing bodies emphasized sustainable practices in the field. That’s because, in the past, overfishing has caused substantial damage to ecosystems.
    4. Industry includes other businesses. Besides commercial fishing, the Massachusetts seafood industry includes various other businesses. There are many seafood processing facilities, restaurants, and seafood distribution companies. Some businesses specialize in the export of locally caught seafood to other regions of the world. If you’re interested in the different types of seafood businesses, check out our article on seafood business ideas.

    Types of Seafood in the Northeast Region

    Like in other areas of the world where commercial fishing is a major industry, multiple types of seafood are caught in the Northeast region. 

    Here are some of the popular species:

    1. Scallops. Both bay and sea scallops are harvested in the Gulf of Maine. Their delicious meat is used by many restaurants across the US. The high demand and limited supply of scallops are the reason for their high price.
    2. Lobster. The American lobster is among the iconic seafood species used in US cuisine. The sweet and tender meat of lobsters caught in this region has made them a prized type of seafood. 
    3. Oysters. The briny flavor of oysters is why they are often eaten raw. 
    4. Haddock. Multiple recipes of chowders and baked dishes also include haddock as an ingredient.
    5. Clams. There are various types of clams that are harvested in the New England region. Quahog, razor, and soft-shell clams are among the most common variations. 
    6. Crab. Jonah crab is the most common species found in the area. It’s used for salads and crab cakes.
    7. Squid. It can be used in salads and appetizers. The most common species is the Northern shortfin squid.
    ordering software for restaurants

    Top New England and Massachusetts Seafood Suppliers

    North Coast Seafoods

    For over 65 years, this family-owned company has been among the best seafood suppliers in Massachusetts. They offer a wide range of products to restaurants and retail grocery stores around the US. In addition to being a wholesaler and selling bulk fish, North Coast Seafoods also offers its products to retail customers.

    Cape Cod Shellfish & Seafood

    As a wholesale seafood vendor that specializes in shellfish, this company is among the premier suppliers of mussels, oysters, and other shellfish products. They have a line of private brands that include:

    • Cape Select Shellfish;
    • Icy Blue Mussels;
    • Momma Mia Oysters;
    • Cape Select Soft Shell Crab;

    Patriot Seafoods

    With five generations of fishing knowledge, Patriot Seafoods is a preferred wholesale supplier for various businesses. They also offer their products to retail customers. Patriot Seafoods offers lobster, clambake packages, fresh and frozen fish, and various types of shellfish products.

    John Nagle Co.

    Tracing its roots to the late 19th century, the John Nagle Co. has been a well-known Massachusetts seafood distributor for over a century. The company partners with retailers, restaurants, food processors, and other wholesalers. Their processing facility has a SQF level 3 certification. This ensures their commitment to high quality and safety in the food industry.

    Boston Sword & Tuna

    Although their name suggests that they specialize in swordfish and tuna, this company offers a wide range of seafood products – from scallops and other shellfish to lobsters and salmon. They are also an importer of seafood products from other regions of the world. As such, they can offer their wholesale clients a variety of specialty seafood and products that are rarely found in the US.

    BlueCart demo request

    Frequently Asked Questions about the Massachusetts Seafood Industry

    BlueCart is among the best technological solutions for seafood suppliers in Massachusetts and other parts of the country. With our help, businesses in the seafood industry can improve the ordering process and make B2B trade much easier. 

    On our blog, you will find various useful articles like our guide on how to become a seafood distributor or our article on seafood pairings

    Below are some of the commonly asked questions regarding the Massachusetts seafood sector:

    How Big is the Massachusetts Seafood Industry?

    The state of Massachusetts is second after the Alaska seafood industry in terms of ex-vessel value of landings. However, the state is home to the largest commercial fishing port by value in the US – the port of New Bedford. 

    In terms of volume, the seafood industry of Massachusetts is far smaller compared to Alaska. However, the sector specializes in high-value products such as sea scallops and American lobsters. Oysters and Atlantic surf clams are also among the valuable seafood products caught in the area. According to researchers, the overall size of the Massachusetts seafood industry is more than 2 billion USD.

    What Are the Trends in the New England Seafood Industry?

    Like every other sector of the economy, the New England and Massachusetts seafood industry is being reshaped by the trends in the market. 

    Here are some of the main trends:

    1. Sustainability. In the past, overfishing has led to reduced commercial fishing volumes. That’s why there are various seafood sustainability standards and the suppliers in the area aim to do eco-friendly seafood harvesting.
    2. New technologies. As the commercial fishing industry is concentrated in a few states, the companies in the sector need reliable technologies like BlueCart to help them sell bulk seafood products. Innovations related to food safety, automation, and logistics are also trendy.
    3. Diversification. Although the region is known for products like lobster, clams, scallops, oysters, and squid, seafood businesses actively diversify their businesses. That’s why kelp farming is one of the biggest trends in the local seafood industry.

    Why Has Fishing Become a Major Industry in New England?

    Ever since the first colonists landed on the New England shores, fishing has been established as a major industry in the region. The abundant fish populations and the limited agricultural opportunities have been the two major factors for the New England and Massachusetts seafood industries. Another reason for the spike in the fishing industry is whaling. Whale oil was one of the most important commodities between the 17th and the 19th century. This has led to the establishment of whole communities that specialize in whaling and commercial fishing.

    Book a Demo
    Streamline order management, grow your bottom line, and get back hours of your time with BlueCart. Schedule a demo now:
    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.