For over 40 years, the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association has educated the wider community on the issues of the fishery and the ocean environment.  In 1995, its educational and outreach programs were formalized and institutionalized through the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Development Programs (GFWDP).

Part of the mission of the GFWDP is to provide education, training, research, and support for the conservation of ocean ecosystems, the promotion of underutilized species, transitional programs for fishermen/women and family members, and the fostering of a sense of the living culture of fishing communities.

To fulfill its educational mission, the GFWA has sponsored programs to:

  • Promote lesser-known fish for food consumption
  • Develop a greater understanding of the local marine ecosystem
  • Connect schools with jobs through mentoring programs at the high school level
  • Promote health information and health insurance awareness.

In collaboration with other organizations, the GFWA has also:

  • Conducted research with scientists to collect traditional, ecological knowledge from fishermen/women; build working relationships between fishermen/women and scientists; and experimented with high quality value-added seafood products;
  • Worked for 12 years (from 1994 – 2006) with the Gloucester Fishermen and Families Assistance Center (GFFAC) to provide fisher folk the ability to earn a living wage in three ways:
    1. by transitioning into new careers;
    2. by establishing a part-time to full-time business that could offset the time their boats are land-based during fishing closures; or
    3. by obtaining the certifications required to obtain marine related employment, thereby using the years of experience they have gained on the water. In the space of two years,  75 to 100 fishermen/women completed the course work and testing necessary to obtain their USCG Captain’s License.
  • Sponsored a Student Exchange Program with Gloucester’s sister city, Tamano, Japan
  • Provided safety training with the U.S. Coast Guard to fishermen/women (2005, 2006, 2008)
  • Helped fishermen/women renew their USCG Captain’s License, as well as obtain the training needed to meet safety criteria in order to renew.  This filled the gap left with the closing of the Gloucester Fishermen and Families Assistance Center.