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Unlike other ports around the country, New Bedford is flush with money from the richest fishery in the US--sea scallops. With many fishermen idle this time of year, the port is mobbed with clean, well-maintained scallopers--many sporting fresh coats of paint.
In a city with persistent high unemployment, poverty and attendant drug and crime problems, the small mollusk is producing a stable livelihood for the more than four thousand of fishermen and other workers who supply the fleet of draggers crowding this old port.
“There is such a trickle-down effect for people who sell fuel, who fix boats, who do welding, painting, cleaning,” said Gail Isaksen, owner of Fairhaven Shipyard. “The fishermen feel like they can spend money. They’re buying better cars now, better trucks.”