CCA Texas Commits $200,000 to Shrimp License Buyback Program

John Blaha
CCA Texas Commits $200,000 to Shrimp License Buyback Program
CCA Texas recently pledged $200,000 to the Texas Parks Wildlife Department commercial bay and bait shrimping license buyback program. This commitment will help expedite the process of "right-sizing" the Texas bay and bait shrimping fleet which will help promote healthier bay systems along the coastal bays and estuaries.

Reducing shrimp effort is one of the most important things we can do for the conservation of Texas' bays and estuaries," said Will Ohmstede, Chairman of CCA Texas. "This monetary commitment by CCA Texas will remove dozens of shrimping licenses from Texas bays."

The buyback program was established in 1995-96 and is a voluntary program, which offers the opportunity for participants in the shrimping industry to sell their licenses, removing them from the industry. To date (October, 2006), $9.8 million has been spent in the purchase of 1,543 commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses.

CCA Texas' recent donation is vital to the continued success of the program, not only in the magnitude of the donation, but particularly in light of continued reductions in the TPWD budget.

"CCA's contribution to the buyback program is significant in several ways," said Dr. Larry McKinney, TPWD Director of Coastal Fisheries. "It will dramatically accelerate the timetable to reduce the inshore shrimp fleet to a sustainable level that in turn will minimize bycatch and trawling impacts that are detrimental to recreational fisheries. Additionally, the partnership between TPWD and CCA demonstrates to the legislature and others that this effort is a high priority for both of us and one worthy of their support."

The Texas shrimp license buyback program has led to decreasing inshore shrimping effort by as much as 48 percent and a total decrease in bycatch by as much as 40 percent. It is estimated that to produce one pound of marketable shrimp a shrimp trawl will create as much as five pounds of bycatch. It is important to remember that this bycatch is made up of vital forage fish, crustaceans and juvenile game species. It is estimated that as much as 80 million pounds of bycatch are removed from Texas bays each year.

"The final result in this program will be a healthier bay system for all coastal fishermen to enjoy," said Robby Byers, CCA Texas Executive Director. "By reducing the number of working licenses, the cumulative bycatch poundage and habitat destruction will continue to decrease, resulting in healthier and more productive ecosystems."

CCA Texas' contribution and dedication to this program emphasize the continuing significance of the original goals of the program as set forth in 1995.

"This program is quickly approaching the conservation goal of a reasonably sized fleet," Said Dr. McKinney. "It could be reached by 2010 or faster with significant contributions like CCA's."For more information about CCA Texas, be sure to visit