Fight Rights CCA Coming California
We all remember the railroading that anglers took in the recent MLPA process. There were many reasons why the California angling community suffered this terrible loss, but one reason stands above all others. After being very involved in the fight against the MLPA, the biggest reason “we” lost in my mind still burns very clear, apathy.
1. lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. “widespread apathy among students” synonyms: indifference, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of concern,unconcern, uninterestedness, unresponsiveness, impassivity, dispassion,lethargy, languor, ennui; rareacedia “widespread apathy among the voters”
The above definition perfectly surmises the attitude of the average Southern California angler, especially the rod and reel guys. Many meetings we attended saw anglers outnumbered by the anti-fishing crowd by a margin of 5 to 1 or more.
To make matters worse, the largest group of anglers to use the resource (rod and reel) were often out numbered by a similar margin by both kayakers and spearos. How is it possible that these two great but relatively small angling groups could outnumber the hundreds of thousands of rod and reel anglers?
Apathy, that’s how.
When the MLPA process began, Southern California anglers were completely unorganized, uninformed and unmotivated. Even when provided with education on the process and several ad-hoc solutions to fight the MLPA battle, many didn’t care or thought the threat was not real. Ultimately, we all will be paying the price for this apathy for generations to come.
That battle was lost and it’s now time to look forward.
Over the past several months, many of the leaders of the Southern California fishing industry have banded together to find a long-term solution to protect our fishery and our access to it. After just a couple meetings, the board decided unanimously that starting a chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) in California was the right thing to do for our future. The CCA has a proven track record and brings a recipe for success to all of its affiliate states.
It was the board’s decision that rather than reinvent the wheel, we would align ourselves with a powerful nationwide organization that could help organize California and fight for our rights at a federal level as well.
The CCA’s website at www.joincca.org states:
“The purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources. The objective of CCA is to conserve, promote, and enhance the present and future availability of those coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public.”
Sounds pretty good right?
The CCA is currently represented in 17 states (not including CA) and has over 100,000 members. The CCA was originally started in 1977 by a handful of conservation minded anglers and industry members in Texas to protect redfish and spotted sea trout from overfishing. Since that time, the CCA has steadily grown to include all of the Gulf States and nearly all of the East Coast.
Besides representing anglers in legal battles, the CCA will work on many other California issues.
Their website also states:
ON A LOCAL, STATE AND NATIONAL LEVEL WE…
- Initiate scientific studies.
- Fund marine-science scholarships.
- Build artificial reefs.
- Create finfish hatcheries.
- Support local marine law enforcement.
- Help establish game fish status for recreational species.
- Work to prohibit destructive commercial gear.
ON A FEDERAL LEVEL WE…
- Defend net bans.
- Work to implement bycatch reduction regulations.
- Support pro-fisheries legislation.
- Battle arbitrary no-fishing zones.
Again, these are all very real needs for our states anglers.
Honestly, I was a bit skeptical at first whether or not a group from the Gulf could understand our unique issues and fishery. After learning more about the rapid impact they had in the Pacific Northwest with their complicated salmon issues, I was sold.
The CCA is more about a formula and less about particular species. All though we all catch different types of fish around the country, our issues are largely the same.
Now is the time for us all to be proactive and build a strong organization to unite anglers in our state. We all know that the next battle could come at anytime and we need to be prepared. All California anglers need to work together to support the CCA of CA and build a member base and war chest of funds to allow us to be PROACTIVE and not REACTIVE.
Part of the CCA’s structure is hire a full time executive director to oversee operations, messaging and fund raising. Additionally, this executive director will work with the board to hire a lobbyist to represent our interests in Sacramento while CCA national works on a federal level.
The CCA of CA will launch at the 2015 Fred Hall show this week in Long Beach.
You will be able to join right at the entrance to the show. For a $50 donation, you will receive a CCA membership, VIP entrance to the show, a coupon book worth $150 (for use inside the Fred Hall Show), a fishing music CD compliments of Costa, a copy of Bill Poole’s book and entry into several raffles. These raffles will feature prizes like a Jackson Kayak, Gun Safe from Deans safes, prize packages from Shimano, Aftco and much more.
If you’re coming to the show, it’s a no brainer. Currently there is a void in leadership for ALL California anglers and the CCA of CA is the solution.
Please take the time to join the CCA at the Fred Hall Shows or go to www.JoinCCA.org. More importantly, take a minute to educate all of your fishing buddies and encourage them to do the same.
In order to protect our great resource, we all need to pitch in.
Photo Credit: Boyceimage.com