The nation’s oldest seaport is reinventing itself.
With Gloucester’s fishing industry a shadow of its former self, this city of 30,000 is looking to boost its tourist activity and develop a biotechnology hub.
Philanthropists with Cape Ann ties are helping to usher in Gloucester’s post-fishing economy with the launch of the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, the Gloucester Biotechnology Academy for high school graduates, and the opening of the 94-room Beauport Hotel on the waterfront — the city’s only large-scale hotel and conference space.
The hope is to continue to tie into local maritime history, but with year-round jobs in science and tourism, and offer new opportunities to a generation whose future isn’t in fishing. Despite the institute’s lack of a permanent home, its researchers have been working on sequencing the genome of cod in the area to develop a better understanding of its population — a hotly debated issue between fishermen and scientists.
The institute recently received $2.7 million in state capital funding for its waterfront marine genomics research laboratory, which could be leased soon and occupied by next year, says executive director Chris Munkholm.