CCA Texas has continued to grow because of a desire by saltwater enthusiasts to make a difference and to be part of an organization that sticks to its principles and mission. In 2006, CCA Texas started local chapters at Texas Tech, TCU, University of Texas at San Antonio, in the Tyler/Longview area (the Piney Woods chapter) and most recently the Nacogdoches/Lufkin area (the East Texas chapter). In addition to these chapters, a Texas A&M Corpus Christi chapter is scheduled to be started in October.
When you look at a list of CCA Texas chapters and see locations in Midland, Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, areas along the coast and on college campuses, you might ask, "how does CCA Texas pick these locations for chapters?" It is really quite simple. These areas have concerned saltwater fishermen who want to make a difference. These grassroots are the key to a successful local chapter and state organization.
When these members contact CCA with an interest to start a local chapter, the wheels begin to turn and the result is an active, passionate and successful chapter dedicated to the conservation of our coastal resources. College chapters are particularly important to the success of CCA Texas.
"College campuses hold the leaders of tomorrow," said CCA Texas Executive Director Robby Byers. "These college students are active because they believe in the efforts of the organization and understand the need to continually fight for the conservation of our coastal fisheries."
CCA Texas must continue to grow in order make a difference in the battles that lie ahead. The battles over freshwater inflows reaching our coastal bays and estuaries continue and will intensify as municipalities and corporations scramble for water rights up and down all of Texas' water basins. Fisheries management issues have become more and more complicated and the principles of sound management are often tested.
Habitat restoration projects continue to grow throughout the state, including projects such as Bahia Grande in the Rio Grande Valley (be sure to read the September/October issue of Tide and the progress of Bahia Grande) and the recently approved $20,000 grant for a sea grass planting project off of Sportsman's Road in West Galveston Bay. The seagrass planting is a joint effort with the Galveston Bays Foundation. A strong local chapter with members able to identify these projects, raise the necessary funds and make it happen is the key to making a difference in conservation.
As a concerned fisherman, you can make a difference by becoming involved in a local chapter or perhaps by helping start a new chapter in your area. Be sure to check the CCA calendar for upcoming banquets and events. For more information on local chapters, visit www.ccatexas.org and click on the local chapters tab on the left hand menu. If you are interested in helping start a new local chapter, contact Robert Taylor, CCA Texas Assistant Director, at 713-626-4222. It all starts with individuals like you.
Beeville Fish Fry September 21st
Midlothian Chapter Banquet September 21st
NEW Piney Woods Chapter Banquet October 3rd
State of Texas/STAR Awards Banquet October 5th
NEW UTSA Chapter Banquet October 19th
Port O'Connor Chapter Banquet October 21st
Brush Country Chapter Banquet November 1st
NEW East Texas Chapter Banquet - TBA
CCA Texas Funded Equipment Helps Catch Red Snapper Violators
CCA Texas has funded more than $500,000 to Texas Parks Wildlife Department law enforcement and research since the year 2000. The importance of these dollars was recently highlighted in an email from TPWD Capt. Rex Mayes to Phillip Fitzgerald, CCA Texas TPWD committee chairman.
"Local Wardens Justin Hurst and Aaron Koenig, along with Chris Bird who will be a cadet in the Game Warden Academy in October, were patrolling for night shrimping violations the other morning in Matagorda Bay. They were using the CCA donated night vision to watch shrimping vessels that reported trawling before legal hours. Approximately 4am, they observed what appeared to be a shrimp vessel traveling from the Matagorda Jetties toward the Palacios channel. The night vision allowed them to identify the vessel as a snapper boat by the name and rigging. They subsequently boarded the vessel and inspected the catch. Numerous undersize snapper were located on board. The captain of the vessel was charged eight times for undersize fish. Charges and restitution are pending in state court."