Monday, March 10, 2014


Via The Cape Gazette:

Courtesy of: Rich KingRich King, of Lewes, is spurring an effort to bring a Coastal Conservation Association chapter to Delaware. An avid fisherman, King stands with a striped bass.
REHOBOTH BEACH — From Texas to Maine, every state bordering the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean has a Coastal Conservation Association chapter except for Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware.
Rich King, of Lewes, is seeking to change that.
An avid fisherman, who runs the popular Delaware Surf Fishing website, King believes it’s time for the state’s recreational fishermen to have a say in the legislative process that regulates their activities at the state and national level, and he believes starting a chapter is the best approach.
“By having a CCA chapter the anglers in Delaware would have a voice in the fisheries management area. We can raise money to help with reef restoration, keeping an eye on legislation that would harm the environment and thus reduce the fish, crab, and clam populations,” he said. “The Delaware angler does not have a "voice" in legislation. This would create a platform for that voice.”
The association has more than 206 chapters throughout 17 states with a current combined membership of almost 100,000. State and national staff members coordinate more than 400 chapter events and fundraisers each year.
The CCA has more than 80 state and national committees, 150 national board members, more than 900 board members – on local, state and national levels – and tens of thousands of active volunteers.
On Feb. 17, King and 22 other individuals interested in starting a CCA chapter in Delaware listened to a presentation by Tony Friedrich, CCA Maryland executive director, at the Delaware Distilling Company on Route 1 in Rehoboth.
“It was a great turn out and Tony had a lot of interesting things to say about the importance of the CCA and the role it can play within the state,” he said.
Friedrich, a Maryland native who has “traveled this beautiful earth with a rod in his hand”, has been working with the CCA Maryland chapter for nearly two decades – the first 12 as a volunteer and the last six as its executive director.
“We’re the largest group of our kind by a factor of five. We’re a recreational fishing advocacy group who is concerned about fisheries management,” he said. “We approach all issues by putting the resource first. We understand it’s a blood sport, but we promote the best way to manage the resources. If the anglers could have somebody to speak for the fish, we’re that group.”
Friedrich said the association has been involved in every major fisheries battle for more than two decades. He gave an example of legislation currently working its way through Maryland’s General Assembly the association is working on trying to block – House Bill 1155. The bill authorizes the harvest of oysters by dredge in the waters located north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Kent Narrows Bridge.
“Power dredging is the most destructive method of harvesting the oysters,” he said. “Just image liquefying the top layer.”
That’s the difference between the people involved with the association and the people involved with the commercial fisheries industry, said Friedrich. He explained the commercial fishing industries use a maximal sustainable yield approach, which means they’re interested in harvesting exactly enough so that there’s enough for the harvest the following year. The association would like to see a more cautious approach, accounting for disease and other unknowns that could occur.

To read the rest of the article or to find out more about Coastal Conservation Association's newest chapter, click here.


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