“I believe that a strong fishing industry is important to the Cape economy and character. If we become just a t-shirt tourist stop, you will see a decline in character and a profound loss of identity.”
John Pappalardo has spent his entire career working to protect the traditions of Cape Cod's oldest industry and to create new opportunities for the next generation of fishermen. He has been the CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance since 2010. Before that, he served for a decade as the organization's Policy Director.
At the heart of Pappalardo's work is the pursuit of new solutions to managing our marine environment. He is a strong advocate of including broader perspectives on current challenges and on approaches to protecting the ocean ecology. One top goal is to bring local fishermen's knowledge and experience to bear on policymaking.
Whether he is engaged in fisheries management policy work or scientific projects, community education or local economic development, Pappalardo is particularly interested in the power of public-private partnerships. He sees these as a key to improving the quality of public policy decisions, and to the creation of more flexible fisheries policies—meaning policies that make good sense in the communities they are meant to protect.
Pappalardo was a member of the New England Fishery Management Council from 2002-2011. He served five of those years as its chairman, guiding the Council through implementation of the newly amended Magnuson-Stevens Act as well as the region's first two catch share programs. He was reappointed in January 2015 and appointed to his third consecutive three-year term in June of 2020.He has also been on the National Organics Safety Board and spent 13 years on the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission.
He currently serves on the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative, the Massachusetts Ocean Advisory Council, the New England Fishery Management Council and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.
A native New Englander, Pappalardo came to Cape Cod after completing a B.A. at Seton Hall University. While working as a commercial clammer, he became interested in the plight of the region's small boat fishing industry and determined to advocate for its future. He helped build the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association—the predecessor to the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance—in 1999.
John Pappalardo, CEO