Mathieu and Paul Lemieux

Location of Interview
Collection Name

The Working Waterfront Festival Community Documentation Project


The Working Waterfront Festival Community  Documentation Project is an ongoing oral history project documenting the history and culture of the commercial fishing industry and other port trades. The project was begun in 2004 in conjunction with the Working Waterfront Festival, an annual, education celebration of commercial fishing culture which takes place in New Bedford, MA. Interviewees have included a wide range of individuals connected to the commercial fishing industry and/or other aspects of the port through work or familial ties. While the majority of interviewees are from the port of New Bedford, the project has also documented numerous individuals  from other ports around the country. Folklorist and    Festival Director Laura Orleans and Community Scholar/Associate Director Kirsten Bendiksen are Project Leaders. The original recordings reside at the National Council for the Traditional Arts in Maryland with listening copies housed at the Festival's New Bedford office.

Date of Interview

Sharon Pollard-Waldron

Biographical Sketch

The father and son duo, Paul and Mathieu Lemieux, have run the successful New Bedford, MA shoreside business, Blue Fleet, for over twenty years. Throughout their lifetimes working with the fishing industry, the two have drawn upon their optimistic outlooks, values of respect, and continual adaptability for support and strength within a frequently changing and challenging industry. Paul Lemieux is a seasoned shoreside business owner and operator hailing from the coastal town of New Bedford, Massachusetts. He is the founder of Blue Fleet Welding. Paul’s Canadian American heritage has lent a unique perspective to his work.  His expertise lies in building scallop dredges, a skill that has set him apart in a field that continually evolves. Mathieu Lemieux, a young and promising figure in the maritime landscape, follows in his father's esteemed footsteps. A resident of the maritime hub that is New Bedford, Massachusetts, Mathieu has seamlessly integrated himself into the family-owned enterprise, Blue Fleet Welding, where he specializes in in chain bagging and gear work.

Scope and Content Note:
Paul and Mathieu discuss the struggles and joys of their experiences working in the fishing industry and running their family business. They also share their insight, observations and concerns regarding important issues about the impacts of economic downturns and consolidation in the industry as well as the challenges of keeping up with and adjusting to different regulation changes in addition to the social, cultural and economic dynamics that take place within the local fishing community. In this interview, Paul and Mathieu also touch on specific aspects of the importance and impact of the fishing industry to New Bedford, Massachusetts; the pressures of developing businesses on the waterfront and the resulting tourism; as well as the struggle of overcoming the negative image given to the fishing industry by increasing positive public awareness. As Paul and Mathieu discuss their strong connections to the waterfront, they emphasize the joy they find through working with others in the industry as well as with local youth in school co-op programs and with the general public through their participation in the yearly Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford in addition to the support provided to the local industry by their helpful supply business.

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