CCA Texas Helps Complete Shrimp License Buyback Program

CCA Texas
CCA Texas Helps Complete Shrimp License Buyback Program
Additional $50,000 makes CCA Texas largest single contributor to landmark conservation program

In a continuing effort to reduce the harmful impact of shrimp trawls in Texas coastal waters, Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas) has made an additional $50,000 commitment to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) bay and bait shrimp license buyback program. This contribution will help fund the final rounds of this program and will bring CCA Texas' giving total to $275,000.

"Reducing the harmful impacts of shrimping is one of the most important things we can do for the conservation of Texas' bays and estuaries," said Mark Ray, Chairman of CCA Texas. "CCA Texas' historic involvement in this program is a vital part of conserving our fragile bays and estuaries."

Since its inception in 1995, the Texas shrimp license buyback program has been a success, helping to decrease inshore shrimping effort by as much as 48 percent with a reduction in bycatch estimated to be as much as 40 percent. It is widely held that to produce one pound of marketable shrimp a shrimp trawl will create as much as six pounds of bycatch while also often causing significant degradation to coastal bay habitat.

"The positive results from this program are clearly evident throughout the bay ecosystem. The reduction in shrimping effort has helped build the forage base, protected bay habitat, conserved gamefish species and even helped the economics of bay shrimping," said Robin Riechers, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Director of Science and Policy. "Clearly, this program is working."

The Texas buyback program offers the opportunity for participants in the shrimping industry to sell their bay and bait licenses. To date, there have been 20 rounds of license buybacks with thousands of licenses retired. CCA Texas' recent donation is a vital step in the continued success of the program.

"Because of the continued support and leadership of the CCA we have been able to accelerate the inshore shrimp license buyback," stated Larry McKinney, Director of Coastal Fisheries, "this most recent contribution will help us bring this program to a successful close much sooner that we ever thought possible."

"It is important to remember that shrimp trawl bycatch is made up of everything from vital forage fish to juvenile game species," said Robby Byers, CCA Texas Executive Director. "Millions of pounds of bycatch are removed from Texas bays each year by shrimping efforts. 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."