By Maureen Donald
A major shake-up at the North Carolina Fisheries Association, one of the country's oldest trade associations representing the commercial fishing industry, has resulted in a new leadership team that includes a familiar face.
Returning after nearly a decade, 18-year association veteran Jerry Schill, holds the reins again as executive director. Brent Fulcher of B&J Seafood in New Bern and Beaufort Inlet Seafood in Beaufort, is the newly elected chairman of the association's board of directors.
According to Fulcher, seen at left, the timing is right for a revamped, revitalized association.
"There's a new energy evident within the industry," says Fulcher, seen at left. "People are realizing that we must work together in order to effectively influence our future. It's time for our industry to act as one, not as separate self-absorbed components."
Schill, pictured at right, has broad experience on both the local, state and federal levels and says he is ready to get started — again.
"I sense a very different attitude in the industry today," Schill says. "Folks are ready to be participants and take an active part in the process, not simply sit back and complain about it."
"With Jerry's past experience I have no doubt this organization will be a strong voice for the seafood industry in North Carolina," Fulcher says. "We have made progress this past year with issues regarding the game fish bill and shrimp trawling. People want to keep that momentum going."
After a two-year absence, the association newspaper, Tradewinds, also underwent a transformation and began publishing again in April.
Photos: Brent Fulcher, chairman of the board of directors, and Jerry Schill, executive director, N.C. Fisheries Association; N.C. Fisheries Association