Formed in 1969, the GFWA is a non-profit organization which promotes the New England fishing industry, helps preserve the Atlantic Ocean as a food supply for the world, and assists active and retired fishermen and their families live better lives.
GFWA has become a strong voice expressing the concerns of the fishing industry at local, regional, national and international levels.
- Promoted enactment and re-authorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (200-mile limit)
- Advocated new laws to stop ocean dumping
- Advocated fair and equal regulations for all fishermen at the New England Fisheries Management Council for 30 years
- Sponsored an international conference for fisherwomen and fishermen’s wives
- Supported establishment of the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary
- Undertook joint projects with fishermen and scientists to bring their worlds together
- Fought oil drilling on Georges Bank, both in the U.S. and Canada, and won
- Advocated legislation banning factory trawlers in the U.S.
- Stopped the placing of a tire reef outside Gloucester harbor
- Erected and dedicated in August 2001 the GFWA Memorial on Stacy Boulevard in Gloucester, MA to memorialize the faith, diligence, and fortitude of the wives of fishermen and mariners everywhere.
GFWA is making a difference. Partnerships are the key.
- Helped organize fishermen’s wives groups in Alaska, England and Cape Cod
- Provided administrative support to the Gloucester Fishermen’s Association
- Convened the Vision 2020 community planning process which resulted in a plan of action for the Port of Gloucester
- Helped found the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership
- Became the U.S. East Coast representative to the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers
- Assisted eastern Canadian fishing communities in advocacy activities to protect their fishing industry.
- Assisted in the establishment of the Gloucester Community Preservation Fund.
- Works in collaboration with the Northeast Seafood Coalition to mitigate the effects of fishing regulations.
- Works in collaboration with Citizens for Gloucester Harbor to protect the commercial dockage and shoreside facilities and infrastructure needed for a vital fishery.
Education and Economics are high priorities with GFWA.
- Launched Cape Ann Fresh Catch, a Community Supported Fishery, in Gloucester in collaboration with NAMA and MIT SeaGrant
- Established the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association Resource Center
- Provided scholarships for higher education for children of fishing families
- Established the Mentor Program to inspire new career choices for young people
- Marketed Gloucester fish by promoting ethnic cuisine
- Published The Taste of Gloucester cookbook to promote the use of all species of fish (over 100,000 copies sold)
- Collected an oral history of where Gloucester boats caught fish and entered this information into a Geographical Information System (GIS) database
- Helped establish the Fishermen’s Partnership Health Plan to provide health care for fishing industry families
- Promoted safety training in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard
- Submitted, upon request, archival material for storage at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard
- Created a narrative quilt honoring the history and faith of the fishing industry and celebrating its future
- Commissioned the production of the video, Faith, Diligence and Fortitude, which tells the story of the GFWA and its incredible journey of political and social activism
- Published the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Cookbook: Stories and Recipes, which features the stories of 18 fishermen’s wives and some of their family recipes
- Initiated the request for funding from the Dept. of Labor to establish three fishermen’s centers in Massachusetts and one in Maine for retraining and employment services for fishermen and their families
GFWA’s future visions, objectives and goals are clear. GFWA will continue to:
- raise awareness around the fisheries and the marine habitat
- address the socio-economic impacts on fishing communities of government regulations
- assist fishermen, their families, and industry workers in gaining access to training and education programs
- promote and market common and less used fish species
- work to expand the membership base
- search for new financial resources needed to sustain the work of the organization.
GFWA will continue to be a strong advocate for regulations which ensure a healthy ocean and healthy fishing communities in Gloucester and around the world.
Senator Edward Kennedy, in a letter to Angela Sanfilippo, President of the GFWA, wrote in part:
“You and the members of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association should be very proud of your years of hard work and dedication to the causes we share.”