Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association

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The Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association
Annisquam Light, Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1904.jpg
Looking out to sea, Annisquam Light, 1904
Founder Lena Novello
Type Social Services Organization
  • 2 Blackburn Center, Gloucester MA 01930
Area served
Gloucester, MA
Key people
Current President: Angela Orlando Sanfilippo
Mission To protect the livelihood and culture of the Gloucester fishing community through social services and conservation work.
Formerly called
United Fishermen's Wives Organization of Gloucester or "The Wives"

Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association (GFWA), also known as the Fishermen's Wives of Gloucester (Association), is a non-profit organization "promoting the New England fishing industry, helping to preserve the Atlantic Ocean as a food supply for the world, and assisting active and retired fishermen and their families to live better lives".[1]


The Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association (GFWA) was formed in 1969 and was initially called the United Fishermen's Wives Organization of Gloucester, informally "the Wives", changing its name to GFWA in 1977. The GFWA started as a group of primarily Sicilian American women, many first-generation immigrants, and initially focused on concerns of local fishermen. However, in the late 1970s the GFWA became active at the state, federal, and international levels as well, lobbying for fisheries conservation and management legislation. GWFA also produced two successful cookbooks and held events throughout New England to promote fishing and protect fishing stock by teaching the public to use species of fish popular in Sicilian cooking, but underused in American. As the work of the GFWA expanded, the group created two sister organizations: Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Memorial, Incorporated (GFWM) in 1982, and Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Development Programs (GFWDP) in 1995. The GFWA continues to promote Gloucester, Massachusetts, the oldest fishing port in the nation, "for its beauty and the culture of the people on its working waterfront",[2] and is an "international model for conserving and protecting fish stocks and a working waterfront for future generations."[3]

Recent work[edit]

In 2009 the group started a community supported fishery project - following the community-supported agriculture or CSA model—in which participants buy a share of the year's catch.[4] The Cape Ann Fresh Catch has continued to support local events highlighting the importance of sustainable fisheries, such as the annual "Seafood Throwdown".[5]


The group, with its sister group GWFM, raised funds for a statue[6] by local Gloucester sculptor Morgan Faulds Pike marking its contributions to the Gloucester community, as well as the role of the fisherman's wife in maintaining households and economies in the community; the statue was dedicated in 2001.[7]


The GFWA has published three cookbooks:

  • The Taste of Gloucester: a fisherman's wife cooks (1976)[8]
  • The Fishermen's Wives' cookbook: 185 seafood recipes (1979)[9]
  • Gloucester fishermen's wives' cookbook: stories and recipes (2005)[10]


  1. ^ "The Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association". 2001-08-05. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  2. ^ "About the GFWA". Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  3. ^ McCarthy, Gail (19 April 2012). "Musical, moving portrait of fishermen's wives". Gloucester Times. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Balsinger, Jim. "Toward a sustainable community catch." Gloucester Times. September 4, 2009.
  5. ^ Editorial. "'Throwdown' event delivers key message on fishery rules". Gloucester Times, August 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "The Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Memorial". Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Reid, Alexander. "Statue Shows Strength of Unsung Wives of Fishermen", The Boston Globe. July 15, 2001
  8. ^ "The Taste of Gloucester : a fisherman's wife cooks (Book, 1976)". []. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  9. ^ "The Fishermen's Wives' cookbook : 185 seafood recipes (Book, 1979)". []. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  10. ^ "Gloucester fishermen's wives' cookbook : stories and recipes (Book, 2005)". []. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 

External links[edit]