What is CCA?
Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) is a non-profit organization comprised of 17 coastal state chapters spanning the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific and Atlantic seaboards. CCA’s strength is drawn from the tens of thousands of recreational saltwater anglers who make up its membership. From Puget Sound to South Texas to the upper reaches of Maine, CCA’s grassroots influence is felt through state capitals, U.S. Congress and, most importantly, in the conservation and restoration of our coastal marine resources.
CCA began in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations. Fourteen concerned recreational anglers created the Gulf Coast Conservation Association to combat commercial fishing excesses and conserve the resource.
That spirit of conservation and stewardship started with CCA’s “Save the Redfish” campaign and soon swept across the entire Gulf Coast. By 1985, Gulf-state chapters had formed from Texas to Florida. By decade’s end, state chapters were founded through the mid-Atlantic region, and by the early `90s, development of the New England state chapters was completed. In 2007, CCA opened chapters in Washington and Oregon, and today stands as a united Coastal Conservation Association with a presence on all three coasts.
Active in virtually every national fisheries debate since 1984, CCA has participated productively in state and federal fisheries management issues for longer than two decades. CCA continues to operate as a three-tiered organization, affecting issues on the local, state and national levels.
Its unmatched breadth and depth of volunteer involvement has made CCA the largest marine conservation group of its kind.
A grassroots network and a unique combination of membership, fundraising and advocacy have enabled CCA to enact positive change on all levels of coastal marine conservation and management. When called into action, the impact of CCA’s grassroots machine is unparalleled.
The CCA Advocacy Fund has been used to defend net bans and the implementation of bycatch reduction devices, and to support pro-fisheries legislation and battle arbitrary no-fishing zones. CCA’s presence in the federal court system has been critical in conserving America’s fisheries.
CCA and its state-chapter network are engaged in hundreds of local, state and national programs and projects related to marine conservation, including initiating scientific studies, funding marine-science scholarships, building artificial reefs, creating finfish hatcheries, initiating hydrologic and contaminant studies, monitoring the quality and quantity of freshwater inflows, supporting local marine law enforcement and more.
Through broad-based recreational angler support, a strong legal and legislative presence, more than 25 years of experience and an unwavering vision for the future of U.S. and global marine resources, CCA will continue to battle for the health and longevity of our coastal fisheries and for recreational anglers’ interests in them.
PROHIBITED TRAWLING FOR TROUT (Texas 1978). Defined major-minor bait-producing bays, nursery areas (Texas 1979). Outlawed single-strand monofilament nets (Texas 1980). Protected billfish, except swordfish, from commercial harvest (Texas 1980). Outlawed gill, trammel nets (Texas 1990). Obtained game fish status for redfish, speckled trout (Texas 1981). John Wilson Hatchery completed (Texas 1982). Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (Maine) given authority to set limits on fish (Texas 1983). Obtained game fish status for redfish, speckled trout (Alabama 1984). Established saltwater stamp for anglers (Texas 1985). Halted commercial harvest of adult redfish in Gulf of Mexico (National 1986). Won game fish status for redfish, speckled trout (South Carolina 1986). Closed Apalachee, Blakeley rivers to shrimping; placed restrictions on gill nets (Alabama 1987). Obtained game fish status for marlin, sailfish (National 1988). Banned gill netting of flounder during spawning run (Alabama 1988). Won game fish status for redfish (Florida 1988). Banned possession of illegal fishing devices on or near Texas waters (Texas 1989). Prohibited sale of naturally raised, wild redfish (Texas 1989). Banned drift gill nets in South Atlantic (National 1990). Federal District Court upholds game fish status for billfish (National 1990). Intervened in lawsuit to uphold bans on fish traps, drift gill nets in South Atlantic (National 1991). Won approval of saltwater fishing license (Alabama 1991). Amendment to Louisiana Constitution approved, guaranteeing funds to preserve wetlands (Louisiana 1991). Won management of speckled trout (Louisiana 1991). Obtained permanent game fish status for redfish (Louisiana 1991). Won approval of saltwater fishing stamp (South Carolina 1991). Adopted no-harvest regulation for tarpon (Texas 1991). Minimum size, bag limits placed on cobia, amberjack, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, for commercial and recreational fishermen (Virginia 1991). Federal District Court upholds ban on drift nets in South Atlantic (National 1992). Formed Save Our Sealife Committee to get state constitutional amendment to limit marine net fishing in Florida waters (Florida 1992). Obtained game fish status for tarpon (Alabama 1993). Broke ground for SeaCenter Texas fish hatchery (Texas 1993). Established saltwater license (Virginia 1993). Created limited-entry plan for commercial fishing of black drum (Virginia 1993). Florida constitutional amendment limiting marine net fishing (Florida 1994). Stopped proposal to open sounds to shrimp trawling (Georgia 1994). Banned use of gill nets, purse seines in Presumpscot River (Maine 1994). Protected eel grass beds by prohibiting near-beach squid and scup dragging in Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds (Massachusetts 1994). Federal District Court approves ban on flynets in North Carolina (National 1995). Restricted use of gill nets (Alabama 1995). Outlawed most gill nets (Louisiana 1995). Intervened in Louisiana lawsuit challenging new gill net law (Louisiana 1995). Restricted use of gill nets in Kennebec River (Maine 1995). Placed minimum size, bag limit, commercial quota on speckled trout (Virginia 1995). Approved regulations requiring all commercial shrimpers operating in EEZ to use bycatch reduction devices (National 1996). Banned commercial gill nets in Old River (Alabama 1996). Banned use of tarp nets statewide (Florida 1996). Mandated bycatch reduction devices on all shrimp boats in northeast region (Florida 1996). Intervened in federal, state lawsuits to uphold Louisiana gill net ban (Louisiana 1996). Banned all non-biodegradable gill nets (Mississippi 1996). SeaCenter Texas opened, establishing world’s largest redfish hatchery (Texas 1996). Won commercial quota for bluefish (Virginia 1996). Mandated use of bycatch reduction devices on shrimp vessels (National 1997). Won adoption of bycatch reduction devices on shrimp boats (Georgia 1997). Obtained game fish status for cobia (Mississippi 1997). Secured $2.5 million from Bath Iron Works to remove Edwards Dam on Kennebec River (Maine 1997). Banned commercial fishing within one mile of barrier islands (Mississippi 1997). Restricted purse seining of menhaden in state waters (New York 1997). Outlawed use of gill, trammel nets for black fish (New York 1997). Won passage of Fisheries Reform Act, first comprehensive state fishery reform (North Carolina 1997). Passed first comprehensive state water plan (Texas 1997). Limited number of commercial crab licenses (Texas 1997). Won seat for recreational fishermen on Marine Resources Commission (Virginia 1997). Granted petition by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) establishing blue, white marlin as overfished; 10-year recovery plan mandated (National 1998). Eliminated striped bass fishing in EEZ through striped Bass Act reauthorization (National 1998). Helped establish new state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Florida 1998). Mandated use of bycatch reduction devices on shrimp trawls in all state waters (Florida 1998). Created “Universal Fishing License,” which includes saltwater as well as freshwater fishing (Georgia 1998). Obtained game fish status for shad (Maine 1998). Won no-sale regulation on black drum (Maryland 1998). Helped establish pro-conservation state Marine Fisheries Commission (North Carolina 1998). Intervened in federal lawsuit challenging NMFS requirement that shrimp trawlers pull bycatch reduction devices in Gulf of Mexico (Texas 1998). Won federal, state lawsuits upholding Louisiana’s gill net law (Louisiana 1999). Reduced number of commercial licenses sold to elver fishermen by 70 percent; shortened eel season by three weeks, removed 3,000 nets from Maine waters (Maine 1999). Created Marine Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee to advise state Department of Marine Resources (Maine 1999). Established limited-entry license management program for all finfish not under a management plan (Texas 1999). Eliminated kill citations for black, red drum (Virginia 1999). Stopped attempts to allow gill netting of striped bass along Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (Virginia 1999). Federal Court upholds requirement that Gulf shrimp trawlers pull bycatch reduction devices (National 1999). Helped draft and introduce the first comprehensive longline management bill in the 106th Congress (National 2000). Helped draft legislation that tightened regulations on the possession of illegal fishing gear (Mississippi 2000). Helped initiate the Freedom to Fish campaign to stop the arbitrary implementation of no-fishing zones (National 2000). Bycatch reduction devices become mandatory on shrimp trawls in Texas bays (Texas 2000). Sued NMFS to stop an arbitrary no-fishing zone off the Florida coast (National 2000). Played a critical role in the development and adoption of the first federal fishery management plan for mahi-mahi and wahoo (Florida 2000). Won federal court battle to maintain bycatch reduction devices in Gulf waters (National 2000). Sued NMFS in federal court to reduce excessive billfish, shark and turtle bycatch in Gulf and Atlantic longline operations (National 2000). Provided LDWF enforcement agents with navigation, global positioning and sonar equipment (Louisiana 2000). Raised grassroots funds to protect angler access along the New Hampshire coast (New Hampshire 2000). Successfully worked in establishing regulations to protect spawning groundfish (Maine 2000). Helped fund the creation of near-shore reefs along the Georgia coast (Georgia 2000). Successfully led opposition to closing Gray’s Reef to recreational fishing (Georgia 2000). U. S. Supreme Court issues final ruling upholding Louisiana’s 1995 gill-net ban (Louisiana 2001). Led efforts to set recreational size, creel limits for flounder; new licensing requirements for commercial gigging, commercial size limit, and annual commercial quota for flounder (Mississippi 2001). Reached favorable settlement in NMFS no-fishing zone suit, allowing recreational trolling in previously restricted area (National 2001). Successfully raised $450,000 in cash and in-kind donations to purchase and remove the Smelt Hill Dam (Maine 2001). Reorganization of Menhaden Management Board ends commercial-fishing industry control (National 2001). Texas’ most comprehensive water bill passes Texas legislature (Texas 2001). Helped retool a bill that would have allowed destructive hydraulic dredging of clams in Virginia waters (Virginia 2001). Launched Gulf-wide phone number – 866-WE ENFORCE – to report coastal game violations (Louisiana 2001). Worked through state legislature and private foundations to continue critical funding for Florida’s state saltwater hatchery, resulting in the 1,000,000th redfish fingerling released in Florida waters (Florida 2001). Opposed Texas Shrimp Association petition to close recreation red snapper season (National 2001). Successfully worked for passage of new redfish conservation regulations (South Carolina 2001). Launched first ever Texas crab trap removal (Texas 2002). Helped ensure areas around Mississippi’s barrier islands are included in Department of Marine Resources’ definition of areas closed to commercial fishing (Mississippi (2002). Mobilized to oppose expansion of commercial shrimp trawling in St. Johns River; commercial request was withdrawn (Florida 2002). Provided TPWD game wardens with night vision equipment (Texas 2002). Constructed Bird Island Artificial Reef (Louisiana 2002). Helped pass first major amendments to state manatee legislation in last 10 years, establishing measurable biological goals for manatees (Florida 2002). Convinced Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to begin rule-making process on use of multiple seine nets tied together and “toy boats” used to circumvent net restrictions (Florida 2002). Defeated initiative by commercial interests to allow commercial harvest of Cobia in Mississippi waters (Mississippi 2003). Funded an expanded TAMU study on spotted seatrout catch-and-release mortality (Texas 2003). Launched first-ever derelict crab trap removal program in the state (Louisiana 2004). Broke the $2 million mark in college and graduate scholarships awarded (Texas 2004). Won passage of the Coastal Recreational Fishing License (North Carolina 2004). Banned trawling in the Upper Mobile Bay shallows (Alabama 2004). Funded more than $530,000 in enforcement equipment and research needs for TPWD over past four years (Texas 2004). Secured grant money for oyster reefs in the Bay of St. Louis & Biloxi Bay (Mississippi 2004). Championed efforts to restore southern flounder stocks through harvest reductions, size and bag limits, license requirements and seasonal closures (North Carolina 2004). Bay Debris Clean-up Project surpasses the 1,150 tons of harmful debris removed from Texas bay systems (Texas 2004). Worked through its representative on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas to implement measures outlawing the practice of shark finning in the Atlantic (CCA National 2004). Instrumental in the effort to secure tideland funds for speckled trout hatchery (Mississippi 2004). One of four members of a cooperative effort called Menhaden Matter formed to investigate the status of menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay to ensure adequate populations for its role as forage base and filter feeder. (CCA National 2004). Intervened successfully in a case before the First District Court of Appeals attempting to circumvent the net ban and bring back gill nets (Florida 2005). Helped establish the first-ever hatchery for southern flounder (North Carolina 2005). Achieved stronger protection for large permit (Florida 2005). Defeated legislative initiative to reduce minimum size of speckled trout (Mississippi 2005). Successful passage of legislation to increase criminal penalties to a third degree felony for flagrant illegal gillnetting (Florida 2005). Worked with the Biscayne National Park Fishery Working Group to curtail and modify proposed no-entry and no-fishing zones (Florida 2005). Sued in U.S. District Court to end overfishing of red snapper by the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fleet (National 2005). Constructed an inshore reef in Perdido Bay with tons of clean concrete rubble (Alabama 2006). Won lawsuit in federal district court to block federal attempt to close all recreational fishing for all species of grouper for three months (Florida 2006). Donated enforcement equipment to Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation (New York 2007). Integrally involved in the Oyster Shell Recycling Program to improve water quality and create habitat for fish (North Carolina 2007). Led successful national effort to keep open-loop LNG terminals out of Gulf of Mexico (National 2006). Won first-ever harvest cap on the industrial harvest of menhaden in Chesapeake Bay (Virginia & Maryland 2006). Constructed Redfish Point Artificial Reef (Louisiana 2006). Funded $700,000 for construction of a state-of-the-art marine larviculture research lab (Texas 2007). Won a moratorium on river herring, allowing near-collapsed stocks chance to recover (North Carolina 2007). Launched chapters in Washington and Oregon to address marine conservation issues (National 2007). Partnered with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to retire $200,000 worth of commercial shrimping licenses (Texas 2007). Announced creation of the Building Conservation / Habitat Program (National 2007). Worked to encourage the President to issue an Executive Order making red drum and striped bass gamefish in federal waters (CCA National 2007). Served integral role in the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative to develop marine habitat enhancement projects (Maryland 2007). Won lawsuit in federal district court forcing NMFS to address shrimp trawl bycatch in the management of Gulf red snapper (National 2007). Instrumental in support of an Executive Order signed by the President ensuring federal agencies will manage recreational angling as a sustainable activity in all federal waters, including marine protected areas (CCA National 2008). Helped secure $4.5 million in federal funding to remove ghost nets from Puget Sound (CCA Washington 2009). Filed lawsuit against implementation of a catch share program for Gulf grouper (CCA National 2009). Helped organize a letter from four Gulf State governors to the Secretary of Commerce outlining concerns over the use of catch share programs in federal fisheries (CCA National 2009). Launched ballot initiative to ban gill nets from the Columbia River and require the use of selective gear in commercial harvest of salmon (CCA Oregon 2010).