The New Bedford Ocean Cluster (NBOC) today announced that it is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The NBOC’s mission is to leverage New Bedford’s coastal position, marine knowledge base, and landside capacity to drive employment and wealth creation in Greater New Bedford. The NBOC looks to accomplish this through a dynamic approach, combining recruitment of targeted businesses, creation of unique economic infrastructure, workforce development, and support for homegrown ocean economy companies.

The New Bedford Ocean Cluster will seek to enhance the City and Port of New Bedford’s existing strengths in maritime industries, while advancing new programs, start-ups and technology partnerships with a primary focus in four different industry areas. These four industry areas include: Commercial Fishing and Processing, Aquaculture, Offshore Renewables, and the Innovation & Technology Sector. The NBOC was originally formed in 2015 as a program of the New Bedford Port Authority. In 2019, the NBOC merged with the former New Bedford Wind Energy Center, which focused on business development in the offshore wind industry.

The NBOC is governed by a ten member Board of Directors who represent key focus areas of the organization. Recently, elections were held to nominate and select members of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. Former New Bedford Mayor John Bullard will serve as the President of the Board, along with former New Bedford Port Director Edward Anthes-Washburn as Vice President, and Jennifer J. Menard, Vice President, Economic and Business Development, Interim – Bristol Community College, as Treasurer and Secretary. The remaining board members are as follows: Keith Decker (CEO of Blue Harvest Fisheries), John Quinn (Assistant Dean for Public Interest Law & External Relations: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth), Anthony R. Sapienza (President, New Bedford Economic Development Council), Chris Rezendes (Professor Emeritus – Marine Biology & Aquaculture Extension Specialist: Roger Williams University), and Michael Quinn (Co-Owner: Quinn Fisheries, Inc.).

NBOC President John Bullard had this to say about the organization and his role within it, “I have often said you can describe New Bedford in one word: seaport. We send our people to sea. The mission of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster is to build on that centuries old relationship to create economic opportunity for future generations by building on our dominance in commercial fishing, leading the way in offshore wind, breaking new ground in marine technology, and joining the fast growing field of marine aquaculture. These four fields and the relationships between each of them create the potential for thousands of local jobs that pay well and that involve every segment of our diverse community. I am honored that Mayor Mitchell invited me to serve on this mission for New Bedford’s future. We have a dynamic Board with world class expertise in all the fields where we will operate and I am humbled to have been asked to lead them.”

Mayor Jon Mitchell serves on the NBOC’s Board of Directors in an Ex Officio role, stated, “The NBOC will be instrumental in ensuring New Bedford achieves its full potential as a leading maritime center. We seek to capitalize on our advantages in fishing, offshore wind and other industries so that we can create new and sustainable opportunities for the residents of our region. ”