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We all enjoy the ability to get outdoors and catch a few fish. To help maintain access to healthy fisheries for years to come, there are organizations that help protect both the fish and fishermen. One such organization is the Coastal Conservation Association (“CCA”). Perhaps you have seen the bumper stickers: frequently a redfish with the slogan “Join CCA” written on the side of the fish. But do you know what CCA actually does?

The Evolution of the Coastal Conservation Association

CCA is involved in a variety of initiatives that help maintain healthy fisheries for coastal anglers. CCA was formed decades ago as a grassroots group of fishermen trying to protect prized sport fish from overfishing.

The organization was originally known as the Gulf Coast Conservation Association (“GCCA”). Within a few years, the group was able to accomplish two major goals in the State of Texas: (1) GCCA helped outlaw the use of gill nets along the Texas coast; and (2) both redfish and speckled trout were declared game fish, thus protecting these two species from being commercially exploited.

GCCA eventually outgrew the geographic limitations of the Gulf Coast, and the group became what is now CCA. Today, CCA is active in protecting fish and the rights of fishermen in 17 states across the United States. CCA Texas remains the largest state chapter, but more and more anglers are joining CCA in the newer states each year.

Coastal Conservation Association

The Coastal Conservation Association Today

What exactly does CCA do today that might help improve your chances of catching a trophy fish in the future? There are several ways that CCA supports the angling community. For example, here are just a few of the ways CCA has been helping anglers in Texas: 1.) Funding fish hatcheries that raise and release thousands of fish each year; 2.) Creating new nearshore reefs that provide habitat for red snapper and other species; 3.) Planting and protecting sea grass and marshy estuaries for growing fish; 4.) Advocating for greater fishing access, adjusted fishing limits, water rights, and more; 5.) Supporting biologists and scientific studies focused on improving fisheries; and, 6.) Awarding scholarships to develop the next generation of conservation-focused anglers.

CCA is performing similar functions in other states where coastal fishing needs protection.

Participating in Local Associations

As a grassroots organization, anyone can volunteer to help support CCA. CCA Texas is made up of dozens of local chapters, and each local chapter has a volunteer board of directors that help support the overall goals of the organization at a local level. In most cases, the local CCA chapters have fundraising banquets, and the proceeds of these banquets provide funding to further CCA’s mission.

Participation in a local fishing organization, such as your local chapter of the CCA, can provide a whole new level of appreciation for the sport of fishing. Getting together with like minded anglers to help support a good cause and tell a few fishing stories can almost be as rewarding as a day out on the water.

To learn more about the Coastal Conservation Association in Texas, you can visit ccatexas.org. If you want to give back or get to know more about fishing in your area, joining a local organization that supports anglers can be a great place to start.