Eric Hesse started fishing in 1984 and is one of the few bluefin tuna fishermen left who uses the traditional hand-thrown harpoon. He started fishing in college but didn't become a full-time fisherman until after graduate school. He pursues bluefin on his F/V Mattanza, which is the name of the annual Italian weir fishery. His sons Zachary and Cooper serve as mates. Eric's goal is to find solutions to improve the ways fisheries are managed and make small-boat fishing a more viable career—not just for himself, but for the next generation of fishermen.
Eric Hesse has also been a cod and haddock fisherman since 1991, fishing on his F/V Tenacious II. Eric is very active in trying to find new markets that will deliver better prices for the high quality fish he brings to port. He and three other fishermen signed a deal with Whole Foods Market to buy their hook-caught fish.
"Commercial fishermen always stay within the catch limits the federal government establishes for this highly prized species. New England boasts a truly sustainable fishery, so always ask where your bluefin tuna comes from."
"There's no doubt, we need to invest in this fishery. We have real problems here. I targeted groundfish for years, built a business around it. But right now, guys like me don't see a future in the groundfish fishery without support for better science and a commitment to rebuild these stocks. That's not going to happen unless we're prepared to deal with the short-term crisis and make real investments in how we manage fish so that we can have profitable groundfish businesses again."
In the News
"Meet the fisherman: Eric Hesse," The Cape Codder, June 16, 2012