The Board of Directors of the North Carolina Watermen United (NCWU) elected a new President and two Co-Vice Presidents at a recent meeting to kick off 2018.
Elected to the position of Board President is Perry Wood Beasley, originally from Currituck County and now resides in Columbia, NC with his wife Penny Copeland, for more than 30 years. He takes on the position of President to fight for your freedom to fish. Beasley who crabs and dropnets for a living has seen what’s been happening to the commercial fisherman in NC and is proud to step forward in protecting the right of everyone to fish in NC waters. “Too many organizations are trying to limit access and not using good science to make decisions affecting the industry as well as the livelihood of the working waterman” he stated. Beasley also sits on the NC Marine Fisheries Blue Crab Fishery Management Advisory Committee and actively participates in suggesting guidelines for the NC Marine Fisheries Commission to follow as it relates to the crabbing industry in the state.
In the position of Co-Vice Presidents, Andrew Berry from Manteo and Greg Mayer from Kill Devil Hills stepped up to work with Beasley.
Andrew Berry is an Outer Banks native who was born into a fishing family. He’s been on the water since the age of 12 and currently operates his own boat fishing in the Pamlico, Croatan and Roanoke Sounds for just about every type of fish including American shad fish in the winter, blue fish, trout and spot in the spring, flounder and mullet in late spring through summer and into the late fall months. Berry has over 30 years as a gill netter in season and a duck hunting guide in the winter. Berry provides a unique perspective in an industry segment that faces extensive regulations and restrictions. He also sits on the NC Marine Fisheries Funding Resource Committee for commercial fishermen.
Greg Mayer, Co-Vice President, has been fishing professionally for more than 25 years as Captain of a charter boat, with the last 15 being on the Fishin’ Frenzy out of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. Originally from New Jersey, he worked summers in high school and college on inshore and offshore charter boats and headboats. He was just appointed to the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Council for the National Marine Fisheries Service. He’s been on the Board of Directors for NCWU since 2008. Mayer has also been part of the Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks TV series for National Geographic for 5 seasons, winning the challenge for three out of four years.
Retiring from the position of Board President is Britt Shackelford from Wanchese, NC. He stepped up to become President back in 2008 after Ernie Foster and Rom Whitaker, the organizations’ first two presidents. As a tireless fighter maneuvering through the myriad of rules and regulations that the NC Marine Fisheries Commission have put in place, Shackelford has steered the organization while protecting watermens’ rights. Shackelford is Captain of the fishing vessel Doghouse out of OBX Marina. In stepping down, Shackelford stated “It’s time for other people to help fight on the frontlines. I realized I couldn’t keep my business and my family provided for, while spending as much as half my time on NCWU business. After 10 years, I needed a break. This is the right thing to do and the right time to do it.”
NCWU, which originally came together in 2005 as a group of commercial, charter/headboat, and recreational anglers, has worked hard to promote the North Carolina fishing industry and protect those who work on the water along with recreational fishermen who enjoy being able to fish. Of equal importance, is the consumer, who may not necessarily fish, but who wants the highest quality protein source in the world – North Carolina fresh seafood. This organization was originally responsible for developing the idea of Outer Banks Catch as a means of educating the consumer of the benefits of fresh, local NC seafood; and has brought the importance of the NC fishing industry to the attention of local, state and federally elected officials.
Membership in the organization goes to help make sure that possible threats to the industry are taken seriously and that fishermen are kept aware of all the laws that effect fishermen and their ability to make a living on the water. And to deliver as the seasons permit, good, local seafood fresh from the sounds and ocean that define the east coast of our state. For more information on the organization, visit www.ncwu.net or https://www.facebook.com/NCWatermenUnited.