Wicked Tuna: Gloucester goes global

What has the show done for the economy in Gloucester, Mass.?

Dave Marciano: “It’s helped enormously. It’s put Gloucester on the international map. We may not be the sole reason people come to Gloucester, but ‘Wicked Tuna’ is certainly a factor. We hear from all the hotels and the restaurants that when people come in, they ask where they can find the ‘Wicked Tuna’ boats, and I think it’s a great thing for the community as a whole. Tourism is a part of what’s keeping Gloucester alive these days, and the show has been a boon for the economy.”

T.J. Ott: “If you talk to any small business owners, hotels, tackle stores, etc., they’ll all tell you that their business has largely improved. We have thousands of fans from around the country and the world who come to see what Gloucester’s all about. The influx is similar to what happened after the “Perfect Storm,” except that we get new fans discovering the show with every season, so there’s more and more people coming to Gloucester every year. There will be 30-40 fans on the docks at any given moment during the summer, especially at Cape Ann Marina. It’s amazing how many people watch ‘Wicked Tuna.’”

Paul Hebert: “It has helped out all the hotels. People come from all over the world to see Gloucester and see the boats from the show. A lot of people we meet tell us they never knew fish could be that big.”

Brad Krasowski: “It always amazes me how many fans the ‘Wicked Tuna’ show has and how they show support for us. They look for us in Gloucester and wherever we may be. And while they are there they shop, eat, buy gas and put money into the town.”

How do you think the show has helped commercial fishermen in the United States?

Marciano: “It’s put a face on the fishing industry, and challenged the myth that fishermen are Vikings out there pillaging the ocean with no concern for the future. ‘Wicked Tuna,’ and other shows that follow fishermen, are a good way to show the truth — the industry is made up of a group of individuals who care a great deal about the ocean and the future. We want our kids to be able to fish after us.”

Ott: “We’ve shown how our methods are extremely sustainable, that’s why our fishery is in such good shape right now. We’ve proven that through what we’ve done on the show. I don’t think people realized it was us versus the fish, and just because we’re hooking a fish doesn’t mean we’re going to land every one. As far as human practices and sustainable methods go, rod and reel fishing is the most sustainable practice in the world.”

Hebert: “The show has helped sales for tackle stores, it’s done a lot for the rod builders, the boatbuilders, etc. Within the commercial industry, we’ve made tuna fishing recognizable, and we’ve seen an uptick in active permit holders who are out there fishing for bluefin.”

Krasowski: The show has helped people to understand that commercial fishermen are interested in and care about sustainability. It’s our living — we don’t want to jeopardize it. Through the show, viewers are learning more about bluefin tuna as a species.”

Next week: Wicked Tuna captains talk about their boats, hobbies and interests off the water, as well as their advice on the commercial fishing industry.

“Wicked Tuna” airs Sunday nights at 9 Eastern and 8 Central on National Geographic. All the action leads up to the 100th episode and season finale on June 24.

 

About the author

Shelley Wigglesworth

Shelley Wigglesworth is an award winning journalist from Maine specializing maritime topics and the commercial fishing industry. She is the mother of two grown children and a part-time mate on two Maine fishing boats, the Nor’easter and the Island Prince.

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