NCFA leader stepping down

After more than eight years at the helm of the N.C. Fisheries Association, the state’s largest trade and lobbying group for commercial fishermen, Sean McKeon has resigned.
 
McKeon said his resignation as president of the organization, tendered last month, takes effect at the end of this month.
 
The board of directors and members of the Bayboro-based association will meet in mid-October and are expected to elect new board members, who would be responsible for hiring a successor to MeKeon.
 
The resignation, which McKeon conceded “was not by choice,” comes on the heels of a July special NCFA meeting in which the dissolution of the more than 60-year-old organization had been rumored, but did not take place.
 
In addition, McKeon’s departure follows closely a busy summer in which NCFA and others in the commercial fishing industry fought off state legislation to declare striped bass, red drum and speckled trout – game fish – off limits to commercial sale and harvest and a separate petition, to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, that would have essentially banned shrimp trawling in the state’s inshore waters.
 
Those issues are likely to continue to pose threats to commercial watermen; the game fish bill didn’t advance but isn’t dead, and there are rumors that shrimp trawling opponents will take legal action or will seek legislative action next year. If those issues do resurface in 2014, commercial fishermen will face them without the man who has headed their largest and historically most effective organization.
 
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