Environmental Protection

For over 40 years, the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association (GFWA) has advocated for a healthy, clean, and sustainable ocean environment by:

  • Promoting the enactment and re-authorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, which gave the U.S. jurisdiction over 200 miles out from the U.S. coastline (1977)
  • Fighting foreign factory trawlers that were wiping out fish stocks and decimating the ecosystem
  • Supporting the establishment of the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary
  • Working to stop oil drilling on Georges Bank, both in the U.S. and in Canada
  • Stopping the placement of a tire reef outside Gloucester Harbor
  • Lobbying to stop open ocean fish farming in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Advocating for laws to stop ocean dumping and helping to enact the Ocean Dumping Law of 1987
  • Educating the public about the dangers of building LNG terminals off Gloucester Harbor

GFWA Organizes to Ban Oil Drilling on Georges Bank Permanently

The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association (GFWA) has once again taken up the cause of banning oil drilling on Georges Bank Fishing Grounds. Since its founding in 1969, the GFWA has fought numerous battles on behalf of the fishing industry. One which has always been a major focus is the prevention of oil drilling on Georges Bank. The GFWA has opposed the desecration of this pristine fishing ground since it was first proposed in the 1970s. The GFWA and other organizations were successful then — but the struggle begins again.

The GFWA feels that the recent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has heightened the need to establish a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling for Georges Bank. On July 9, 2010, the GFWA joined Congressman Edward Markey in a press conference, which called for a permanent ban on oil drilling for Georges Bank. We would ask that you join Congressman Markey and pledge to help protect this pristine fishing ground from the potential devastating consequences, which have been illustrated by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico…more

Georges Bank has been a constant target of the oil industry and the GFWA has worked hard to oppose oil drilling or exploration of any kind for over 35 years. This fishing ground significantly contributes to the Massachusetts commercial fishing industry, which has an annual income of 2 billion dollars and supports more than 73,000 jobs in the state.

Georges Bank Fishing Grounds were protected from offshore oil drilling since 1988 by executive orders by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; it was removed in 2008 by President George W. Bush. On March 31, 2010, President Obama effectively reinstated the Presidential moratorium on Georges Bank, thereby banning exploration and oil drilling through 2017.

The preservation of Georges Bank is a national issue; it is the primary nursery for fish that roam the eastern coast of the U.S.; and it is the best source of healthy protein for our nation. While Georges Bank remains protected for now, the GFWA feels it is unwise to leave this to the discretion of each elected president.

Therefore, the GFWA is working to prevent permanently the drilling for oil on Georges Bank, which if instituted has the potential to decimate this ecosystem and the fishing industry of New England.

The GFWA, therefore, urges all to support H.R. 790: Georges Bank Preservation Act: To prohibit issuance of any lease or other authorization by the Federal Government that authorizes exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas in any marine national monument or national marine sanctuary or in the fishing grounds known as Georges Bank in the waters of the United States.

Sponsor: Edward Markey of Massachusetts. 14 Co-Sponsors: Michael Capuano (MA-8), William Delahunt (MA-10), Barney Frank (MA-4), Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), Paul Hodes (NH-2), Patrick Kennedy (RI-1), Stephen Lynch (MA-9), James McGovern (MA-3), Richard Neal (MA-2), Ms. Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Ms. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1), John Tierney (MA-6), Ms. Niki Tsongas (MA-5), Peter Welch (VT). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

The GFWA has been working hard, gaining hundreds of signatures on a petition and garnering support from the fishing industry through letters and testimonials. We ask that you join us in this fight to ensure that our oceans are protected from the potential disaster that has decimated the Gulf of Mexico.


Petition to Prevent Oil Drilling on Georges Bank

History of Georges Bank Oil and Gas Drilling


Dangers of LNG Terminals off Gloucester Harbor

In 2004, educating the public regarding the environmental impact of the proposed LNG terminal off Gloucester Harbor was a primary focus of the work the GFWA. Although the LNG terminals ultimately were approved, the facts about their placement off Gloucester Harbor are still relevant today.