Each year, the New Bedford-based Offshore Mariners’ Wives Association presents perhaps New England’s most prestigious award honoring those who have contributed to the fishing industry across the state and the region.
And the list of past winners is exclusive, including the likes of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, now-retired Congressman Barney Frank, and yes; our own late Richard Gaines.
But the Mariners’ Wives could not have made a better selection for this year’s honor than Gloucester’s own Angela Sanfilippo, who was indeed named as one of the two 2013 winners during Sunday’s New Bedford Waterfront Festival.
In presenting the award, Verna Kendall of the Mariners’ Wives organization aptly called Sanfilippo “a tireless crusader” — and she has been just that, working incessantly not only for a more fair regulation of fisheries, helping to better develop insurance coverage for fishermen, and fighting to preserve fishermen’s rights to harvest the seafood riches of Stellwagen Bank.
All of that is on top of her roles as head of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association, a director with Gloucester’s Community Fishing Preservation Fund, and a driving force behind Cape Ann Fresh Catch, which is sponsored by the Fishermen’s Wives’ group and promotes the use of alternative seafood species to better sustain the fishery as a whole.
Asked by our own Sean Horgan what she views as her greatest achievement as a fisheries advocate, Sanfilippo has a practical response, especially considering the industry’s current, government-fueled state of disaster: “I’d say it’s that we still have a fishing industry,” she said — and she’s right.
Indeed, it’s hard to imagine where the fishing industry would stand with advocates like Sanfilippo and others — including many who have earned this award in the past.
For that, we not only extend her our sincere congratulations, but our profound thanks as well.