North Carolina Watermen United
Protecting Your Freedom To Fish
Protecting Your Freedom To Fish
Objectives, Board of Directors, History, Accomplishments and Archieves
Promote and assist in the enactment and enforcement of laws and regulations that ensure the rights of watermen to continue the practice of harvesting the fisheries resource of North Carolina.
Work to encourage the maintenance of high standards of professionalism among the watermen of North Carolina
Engage in substantial public relations efforts to ensure that citizens throughout the state of North Carolina understand the problems, concerns and proposed solutions to these problems from the point of view of the professional watermen who work the waters.
Work to ensure, through political activity and public relations efforts, that watermen are represented, in reasonable numbers, on each committee, commission, advisory panel and regulatory board that will be involved in the regulation of and control over watermen and the resource that they harvest.
Work to pass legislation that ensures the continued viability of both the charter and commercial fishing industries in North Carolina.
Work to ensure that all three user groups - commercial, charter/headboat and recreational fishermen - are fairly represented on any appointed committee/commission in any government financed plan whose intent is to enhance the state’s marine resources.
To be ever diligent in the evaluation of changes that may affect watermen, changes in the health of our resources, changes in the political climate in which we exist and changes in the economic realities affecting our industry, and with membership approval, to adopt appropriate strategies for the purpose of addressing new and emerging issues.
Board of Directors
Seated, left to right: Perry Wood Beasley, Rom Whitaker, Ernie Foster, Duke Spencer Standing left to right: Melba Milak, Secretary, Andrew Berry, Greg Mayer, Jamie Reibel, Britt Shackelford, Ernie Doshier, Tom Harper Not Pictured: Capt Sonny Davis, Bradley Styron, Glen Hopkns, Billy Maxwell
History and Accomplishments
The North Carolina Watermen United was formally voted into existence on April 14, 2005 after a series of meeting by concerned fishermen from up-and-down the North Carolina coast. It was established to advocate for commercial, charter/headboat and recreational fishermen to insure that all watermen in North Carolina are included in the political decision-making process and the public discuss and debate involved in regulating the resource that they harvest.
The precipitating action to form was a reaction to the Legislative Bill for the Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL) that would have required every one fishing to buy a $15.00 License for in-state fishermen or $30.00 License for out-of-state visitors whether surf fishing, fishing from a private boat or fishing on a charter boat or headboat. The legislation had been passed by the Senate with no input from fishermen.
NCWU was formed to react to the Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL). The charter boat industry was blindsided by this legislation and suddenly had to scramble to negotiate a license we could live with. I had no idea when I entered the fishing industry that I would need to worry about politics, but it has become a requirement. The working watermen of North Carolina must unite to have a strong and positive impact on future fishing laws and regulations for both state and federal government.
Rom Whitaker, President
NCWU, working with Legislators and the Environmental Defense-
We are asking for help and support for a viable industry. The charter/headboat contributes millions of dollars to our state’s economy. A $70,000.00 grant has just been secured by NCWU from Sea Grant to do a much needed economic impact study. The charter/headboat industry does not ask for or receive fuel credits, advertising dollars or tax credits. We are required to purchase a blanket For-Hire License or require our clients to purchase an individual CRFL. Add to this mix rising fuel costs, limited docking facilities and double digit increases in operating expenses and things become more complex. If we are to continue as a viable industry, we need a voice in the regulation of our industry…NCWU strongly believes that all three user groups (commercial, recreational and charter/headboat) must be represented if the State is to make the best decisions about is marine resources…We ask for help in ensuring that there is charter/headboat representation on the Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC).
Ernie Foster, President
Britton Shackelford, President
In Manteo at Hurricane Mo’s in Pirate’s Cove on March 24.
In Hatteras Village at Sonny’s Restaurant on April 5
In Manteo at Pirate’s Cove Dockside Restaurant on April 12
In Hatteras at Sonny’s Restaurant on April 18
In Atlantic Beach at the Capt Stacy Fishing Center on April 26
In Hatteras Village at Day at the Docks on September 15
In Nags Head at the OBX Seafood Festival on October 20
Photo by Reflections
Asking for spiritual guidance
Chartered buses for a trip to Raleigh for a Legislative
Meeting on HB #983 on May 6
Ran ads in The Raleigh News & Times explaining our
reasons for opposition on May 26 and 27.
The bill was defeated.
In Hatteras Village at Day at the Docks on September 21
In Morehead City at the NC Seafood Festival on
In Nags Head at the OBX Seafood Festival on October
Duke Spencer with Bobby & Zoe Smith at the Seafood Festival
In Hatteras Village at the Lee Robinson General
Store for a Taste of North Carolina where NCWU
was the beneficiary of the wine tasting proceeds
on September 19.
In Hatteras Village at Day at the Docks on September 20
In Morehead City for the NC Seafood Festival on
October 2 – 4
In Nags Head for the OBX Seafood Festival on October 18.
Repeals the mandatory logbook requirement for Charter
Hatteras Harbor Marina
Prohibits an agreement the NC DENR and NMFS for the
Joint Enforcement Authority that would have allowed NC
Marine Patrol to enforce federal regulations within the
US Department of Interior Scoping Meeting in Kill Devil
Hills on March 16
NC Coastal Federation Shaping Our Economic Future-
Offshore Drilling in New Bern on July 31
Coastal Federation Meeting
Left to right...Robert Fritchey, author of Wetland Riders,
Ernie Foster-NCWU Board Member and
Sara Mirabilio from Sea Grant
Other Organizations On Which We Serve
Jamie Reibel attending meeting
Perry Wood Beasley - NCMFC Crustaceans Advisory Committee Member
Capt Sonny Davis - SAFMC Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel Member
Ernie Foster - Dare County Visitors’ Bureau Member - Dare County Waterways
Commission, North Carolina Coastal Federation, Monitor National
Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
Dewey Hemilright - MAFMC Council Member, NCFA Board Member, NC Catch Board
Glen Hopkins - SAFMC Dolphin Wahoo Advisory Panel, Commercial Seat Member
Troy Outland - NCMFC Sea Turtle Advisory Committee Member
Andrew Berry - OBX Catch Board Member, Funding Committee for the NC
Commercial Fishing Resource Fund
Lee Setkowsky - NCMFC Oyster & Hard Clam Advisory Committee Member
Britt Shackelford - NC Fisheries Association – NCWU Representative
Rom Whitaker - Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel Member
David Wilson - SAMFC Dolphin Wahoo Advisory Panel, Charter Boat Seat Member
Bradley Styron - President, Carteret County Fisheries Association
Ernie Doshier - Funding Committee for the NC Commercial Fishing Resource Fund
Ocracoke Working Watermen Association
Below can be found copies of newsletters published from 2008 - 2014
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