BOSTON — New Bedford Light reporter Will Sennott talks with Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan about his recent report into foreign private equity’s grip on New Bedford’s fishing industry.
In a joint investigation last month by The New Bedford Light and ProPublica, Sennott followed the money coming into and going out of the nation’s top-earning seafood port. It flows from boats owned by industry giant Blue Harvest Fisheries to the Manhattan offices of private equity firm Bregal Partners, then to a Swiss company owned by the billionaire Brenninkmeijer family — a Dutch powerhouse with holdings in natural gas, offshore wind, European shopping plazas, and commodities.
And while Blue Harvest Fisheries expanded its operations, buying boats and acquiring more permits, it depressed the income for those who actually catch the fish by pushing fuel costs and other expenses onto the fishermen.
“It’s a nickel-and-dime game,” said fisherman Jerry Leeman. “Tell me how I can catch 50,000 pounds of fish yet I don’t know what my kids are going to have for dinner.”
In a follow-up to the July 6 investigative story, Sennott reported that three U.S. senators have called for greater federal scrutiny of foreign private equity’s encroachment into the fishing industry.
Read the original story from The New Bedford Light and ProPublica.
Read the follow-up story detailing the concerns of three U.S. senators.