On this week’s Bucket Talk, we catch up with Captain Dave Marciano, captain of the F/V Hard Merchandise, which you may know from National Geographic’s hit show Wicked Tuna. Based near Gloucester, Massachusetts, prime fishing country, Marciano has been a fisherman all his life and has been on boats since he was 12. Listen in as Jeremy and Eric sit down with Captain Marciano to learn about commercial fishing, being a fisherman on TV, the challenges of the current fishing industry in America and tools of the fishing trade.
Raised in Beverly, MA, about 15 minutes from the fishing mecca of Gloucester, Dave had a passion for fishing from a young age — he loved it enough to get a job on a boat when he was just 12 years old.
“Nobody in my family was a fisherman before me. I just had a passion for fishing. That started when I was a young kid; my parents couldn't keep me away from the water. I just started fishing. You know, nothing fancy, with barbers and minnows for bass and panfish and everything else and trout. And you know, that passion just kept growing.”
He started from the bottom and worked his way up, eventually buying his own boat, the Angelica Joseph, and starting his own business, Angelica Fisheries, in 1995. While fishing was his passion, as he got older and more in-tune with the business, he realized that commercial fishing was not entirely about passion, but about the thrill of succeeding.
“Commercial fishermen are opportunists. We're not in it for the sport, we're not in it for the thrill — although it is a very thrilling occupation. Maybe that's part of the adrenaline rush that keeps you into it…the search for the big score. But, you know, that became part of the year, you know what I mean? If tuna fishing was good (if we say good, if it was lucrative), if we could make some money doing it, we would do it. I've always felt that was the key to successful tuna fishing.”
After some time running a successful business, Captain Marciano got the opportunity to join the National Geographic’s show Wicked Tuna, which documents the lives of tuna fisherman in the Atlantic — revealing just how difficult a life on the water can be. Despite the difficulties, Marciano has seen his time on TV, not only as a way to grow his business, but as a blessing to him and his family.
“[Fishing] is quite an anonymous way to make a living. But [the show] has been one hell of a wild ride, you know. I will say that it's been an opportunity of a lifetime for me and my kids…It's given me an opportunity to figure out how to continue, you know, owning my boats, and surviving, and even thriving in the fishing industry.”
Marciano is still thriving in his industry, and putting on a show for us on NatGeo. It is hard to know what will happen in the future of commercial fishing, but it is evident that the F/V Hard Merchandise will continue to be a force in the northeastern fishing community.