A new study shows Chatham is one of the top three fishing ports in the Northeast facing severe gentrification pressure — likely not a surprise.
“People feel like the story map (the way the findings were presented) reflects their lived reality,” said Matthew Cutler, a social scientist with NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center who worked on the project.
Cutler, working with Rose Jimenez at the NOAA Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technology, said communities chosen to measure gentrification pressure all showed high fishing engagement scores – which includes the value of landings and number of permits in town – from 2009 to 2018.
First on the list was Barnegat Light, New Jersey. Chatham was right behind Montauk, New York. All three are ports with fishing ties that reach back to the 1700s, but they are also blessed with natural amenities, have a lot of wealth, and are hot vacation spots.
Chatham, more so than many of the other 28 communities measured, is “highly reliant” on fisheries, the study said, and its housing disruption is “often linked to an out-migration of younger residents and displacement of less affluent residents.”
Cutler said other fishing communities on the Cape, such as Provincetown, also face severe gentrification pressures. But those communities may not have been on the list because landings in one of the years in the data set was low or not attributed to that port.
“I want to re-emphasize that these are indicators, they aren’t the definitive answer,” Cutler said.