We don’t like to brag, but in this case it is warranted: We have a stellar board of directors. Our board has always been a mix of accomplished, savvy captains and people in the community who understand the value of the Cape’s commercial fisheries. As a longstanding non-profit – we are celebrating our 30th birthday this year – we are involved in many, many projects that are focused on helping fish, small-boat fishermen, and this slice of sand we all call home. We could not do it without our engaged, enormously supportive board. We would like to introduce them to you in this gallery. We are tremendously fortunate they volunteer their time to advocate for us and the industry that we believe defines the Cape.
Gwen Holden Kelly and her husband Paul bought their home in Orleans in 1991, the same year the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association started. But she didn’t spend much time on the Cape until years later because she was working for another non-profit organization: The National Criminal Justice Association in Washington D.C.. In her 21-year association with the special interest group, 12 as executive vice president, Holden Kelly managed finances and more as the organization took on new challenges, secured funding, and implemented policy, research, and legislative programs. Read more here.
He is a longtime captain, with a great grandfather, father, brother, three sons (one a successful captain) all in the industry, so it is difficult to find someone more connected to commercial fishing than Tim Linnell. His perspectives and concerns about the future of the industry bring important views to the board he joined in 2014. In addition to his work on the board of the Fishermen’s Alliance, Linnell has worked on many of policy and marketing initiatives the non-profit has pursued. Read more here.
Beau Gribbin, owner of High Pressure Fisheries, is a life-long fisherman. Since the age of 10, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and uncle, his home port has been Provincetown. He started on the draggers that helped define the town in the 1980s, left to go crabbing in Alaska, but came back to longline on the Cape and now splits his time here between scalloping and lobstering. Read more here.
Captain Eric Hesse, of Barnstable, earned a Bachelors of Science in Physics from Bates College and a Masters of Science in Civil/Environmental Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. Once he started fishing in the 1980s it was something he couldn’t give up. A tuna harpoon fisherman, he also fishes for groundfish with lines and hooks – a method that hearkens back hundreds of years. Read more here.
Greg Connors leads by example. A hardworking fisherman, he serves as chairman of the Fixed Gear Sector and is a regular presence at industry meetings meant to move the fisheries forward. Connors grew up in Wilmington, but summered in Wellfleet and after a short stint in college started his fishing career in Chatham. “I just fell in love with it,” he said. Read more here.
When Charles “Chuck” Borkoski first moved to Chatham in 2005 he lived within walking distance of the fish pier and he walked down there a lot. “The fishing aspect of being here in Chatham really resonated with me,” he says. “I always enjoyed seeing the guys out there.” Read more here.
In the early 1970s, Barry LaBar went offshore lobstering with Ray Kane a few times, three-day trips. LaBar was in his element. “I love the water,” he says. He started coming to Chatham in 1963 as a kid with his parents and although he was often surfing at Nauset or sailing in ponds, the fish pier always defined the town for him. “The fish pier was always what it was all about. Even now, fishing is still the heart of Chatham,” LaBar says. Read more here.
Brian Sherin has a long history as a recreational fisherman and like many thinks the Cape is a unique place. But recently he got to musing about what would happen if its defining character disappeared. “It hit me, this could change dramatically: What would Cape Cod be without the fishing industry?” he thought. Sherin is willing to lend a hand to help the Fishermen’s Alliance ensure that he won’t have to experience the answer to that question. Read more here.
Meet the Fleet attendees were pouring in and board member Richard Banks was stationed in the foyer, passing out name tags and chatting with arrivals. He still remembers his first Meet the Fleet seven years ago when he attended with his sister-in-law and immediately became a member of the Fishermen’s Alliance. Soon he was spending many volunteer hours supporting the organization. Read more here.
Although Greg Bilezikian’s company, Dennis East International, has a worldwide footprint, his feet and heart are firmly planted on Cape Cod. Bilezikian grew up working for his parents at the remarkably successful company they founded, Christmas Tree Shops, in Yarmouth Port, the company’s first retail location. He built on what he learned to open DEI, a top manufacturer and leader in the gift and home decor industry, with an office and warehouses in Yarmouth as well as offices in Florida and Hong Kong. Read more here.
Kurt Martin started commercial fishing when he was 13 years old. The mainstay of his career has been lobstering, but he also fishes using traditional weirs, and sea bass pots. He’s tried pretty much every other fishery, save sea scalloping. In order to stay ahead of changing times, he has participated in fisheries management and policy. The Fishermen’s Alliance was founded to sustain the Cape’s fisheries and help fishermen evolve with myriad changes, which is why Martin, of Orleans, agreed to become a board member. Read more here.
In the late 1990s, Andy Baler was asked to become a board member of the non-profit founded to champion the Cape’s small-boat fishermen. “I fight like hell for things,” he said, “especially for those who typically don’t get a fair shake.” He knew many of the fishermen who started the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association, now the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. With a degree in fisheries biology, he also had experience in the industry as owner of Nantucket Fish Company, which processed, bought and sold fish, as well as Yarmouth Oyster Farms, his aquaculture grant on Lewis Bay. Read more here.