Fishermen’s Wives: Coping with an Extraordinary Occupation

podcast about fishermen's wives for partners of commercial fishermen

This podcast is one of my favorites because it is so DAMN EMPOWERING. In this episode, I read from a study done in 1978 on New England POCFs called “Fishermen’s Wives: Coping with an Extraordinary Occupation.” I wanted to share this with you because it COMPLETELY VALIDATES our existence and the service of partners of commercial fishermen worldwide!

  • How forced independence of our lifestyle benefits us in the long run.
  • The key to a fisherman’s success in the industry.
  • The specific reason why POCFs are so important to the industry. 


> Check out the email I received from a listener about this episode: 

Hi, Megan. I hope this message finds you well! I am an avid listener of your POCF podcast and really enjoyed your episode this week. The book you mentioned this week, ‘Fishermen’s Wives: Coping with an Extraordinary Occupation’ is from almost 50 years ago, but so much of it remains true!
I both enjoyed and appreciated the positive framing of this book and your subsequent episode. It delights me to see a seasoned POCF, such as yourself,  taking so much pride in your work in this industry. All too often, ‘women’s work’ is undervalued in our society; this goes for the commercial fishing industry, too.
I think this might really interest you, particularly the sub-section Women’s Unrecognized and Undervalued Contributions to Fishing Families and Communities.
My boyfriend fishes out of Cordova, AK, and Bristol Bay, and we have been dating for about a year and a half. I’m an Aussie girl who has lived in Hawaii for almost a decade, so to say it has been a big learning curve for me would be a colossal understatement. To my surprise, as a feminist scholar, it has also been a learning curve for him! I show him research articles such as these, and we discuss them and talk about the implications of the gendered division of labor, women’s invisible labor, and how we will try to build out life together, keeping concepts like this at the forefront of our planning.
Anyway, I thought you might like the article if you haven’t already seen it! Please reach out if you would ever like to discuss other topics surrounding women’s labor and the commercial fishing industry or anything else POCF-related 🙂
With love and thanks, POCF Podcaster
*I reached out to see if she’d like to be a guest on the podcast to share her experience as a feminist scholar navigating the commercial fishing life. I hope to share her story with you soon!
In my reply to her, speaking of gender gaps, I mentioned that I went to the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans, and there were so many DUDES at the conference. Much different than other male-dominated situations I’ve been in. I don’t know if it’s the sea of navy suits and collared shirts or that it’s a different business side of the marine industry, or because it’s the South (I’m a Southerner, so I speak from experience), but it’s different.


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What it’s like for Commercial Fishing Woman, Emily Ekbom

In August, Chris said he was interviewing a few deckhands for the spiny lobster fishing season in Santa Barbara, CA, and one happened to be female.

At first, I didn’t sweat it. What’s the point of getting worked up for something that may not happen? So, being supportive (because you have to as a partner, let alone a partner of a commercial fisherman), I said, “Whoever will do the best job, I fully support you!” I didn’t think it’d go any further.

But when he mentioned he wanted to hire her, the first words out of my mouth were, “Is she hot?” In one second, my support transformed me into the insecure woman I thought I no longer was….

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Letter: There’s a Female Deckhand Aboard and I’m Really Struggling

Author’s Note: I’m sharing this email from a fellow POCF so others understand the normality of feeling this way. Especially if you’re new to the industry. Just remember, you are not alone!

Hey Megan, 

I have been with my Fisherman for about 1 year and 3 months…He claims that the boat (he works on) is an all-male crew as well, but just yesterday, I heard a female’s voice through the Sat phone. She sounded like she was having fun laughing with the boys.

I’m sure you can imagine how my mind is and how much worrying I’ve been doing since then.

Am I wrong for feeling like this?

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