New Bedford, photo/Wikipedia

Wall Street Journal: Known as the “Whaling City,” this coastal New England community celebrates its salty air and maritime heritage at every turn.

A section with cobblestoned streets is known as the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park. The annual mid-winter “Moby-Dick Marathon” brings together townsfolk for a 25-hour nonstop reading of the epic that was inspired by author Herman Melville’s journey on a whaling ship that departed New Bedford in 1841.

But the city’s modern fortunes are tied to a far smaller sea creature: scallops. Scallops account for New Bedford’s status as the largest U.S. commercial fishing port in terms of value at $249 million in 2009, according to the latest federal fishery statistics. And scallops, unlike lobster, have proven remarkably recession proof with prices rising steadily through the downturn even as the amount caught held relatively steady. The wholesale price for a pound of the U.S. sea mollusk is $11.20, 41 percent higher than in November 2007.

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