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Senate Commerce Committee Passes Landmark Legislation with Bipartisan Support

Washington, D.C. – February 28, 2018 – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation overwhelmingly approved S. 1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 (Modern Fish Act). This legislation calls for critically important updates to the oversight of federal fisheries, including adding more tools to the management toolbox, improving data collection techniques, and examining some fishery allocations that are based on decades-old decisions.

The Modern Fish Act was introduced in the Senate in July 2017 by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). It has since received strong bipartisan support from 12 cosponsors representing coastal and non-coastal states alike. In addition, a broad coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community has endorsed the Modern Fish Act and highlighted the importance of updating the nation’s fisheries management system to more accurately distinguish between recreational and commercial fishing.

“The bipartisan leadership on display today in the Senate Commerce Committee will not soon be forgotten by America’s 11 million saltwater recreational anglers,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “We want to thank our many champions in Congress, particularly Sens. Wicker and Nelson, for recognizing the need for serious reforms to the broken federal fisheries management system. We look forward to working with congressional leaders in both chambers to get this legislation across the finish line.”

Through years of deliberation, the priorities of the recreational fishing and boating community were identified and presented to federal policy makers by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management. This group is also referred to as the Morris-Deal Commission, named for co-chairs Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boat Group. In 2014, the Morris-Deal Commission released “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries,” which included six key policy changes to expand saltwater recreational fishing’s social, economic and conservation benefits to the nation.

Many recommendations of the Morris-Deal Commission are addressed by the legislation passed today by the Senate Commerce Committee.

“Today’s action by the Commerce Committee is further evidence that Congress recognizes the economic and societal impact that recreational saltwater fishing has on our nation,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. “There are 11 million saltwater anglers in the U.S. who have a $63 billion economic impact annually and generate 440,000 jobs. We applaud the Senate Commerce Committee for taking this important step and call for the full Senate to quickly take action on this legislation.”

“For too long, the federal fisheries management system has limited access for America’s recreational anglers and boaters due to faulty data and misguided regulations, which in turn has jeopardized the economic vitality of the recreational boating industry,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “On behalf of the estimated 650,000 workers the recreational boating industry supports, we are eager to continue working with our allies in both chambers of Congress to get this important legislation to the president’s desk.”

“The bipartisan vote taken by the Senate Commerce Committee today demonstrates the nation’s broad support for federal fisheries management reform,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “We are proud to work with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to advance a common-sense policy that remains true to our conservation goals while promoting access to our nation’s healthy natural resources. We look forward to this important bill receiving quick consideration by the full Senate.”

“We thank Chairman Thune and Sens. Wicker and Nelson, as well as the large bipartisan group of Modern Fish Act cosponsors, for their leadership on this issue,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “The Modern Fish Act is a top priority for saltwater anglers across the United States and charts a clear course for effective recreational fisheries management.  I encourage Congress to use the momentum from today’s Committee vote to secure quick passage in both chambers.”

“The Modern Fish Act represents five years’ worth of input from our community and will increase the level of trust between America’s 11 million saltwater anglers and federal fisheries managers,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Recreational hunters and anglers have been at the forefront of resource conservation in this country for more than a century, and the Modern Fish Act gives recreational anglers an opportunity to continue to lead in conservation by improving upon data collection and stock assessments. We’re extremely encouraged to see these updated management approaches tailored to meet the unique needs of recreational fishing, rather than forcing recreational seasons into a management scheme designed for commercial fisheries.”

“We owe great thanks to Senator Wicker for introducing the Modern Fish Act to finally address the specific needs of recreational anglers under federal law,” said Jim Donofrio, president of the Recreational Fishing Alliance. “We want to thank Chairman John Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson for their leadership in bringing this important bill to a vote in the Commerce Committee today. The bipartisan spirit we are witnessing in this Committee is refreshing, and we look forward to final action by the full Senate and House.”

On December 13, 2017, the Modern Fish Act (H.R. 2023) was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee as part of H.R. 200. 

Following today’s vote, the coalition encourages Senate leadership to quickly bring S. 1520 to the floor for final passage. Marine recreational anglers and boaters are eager to see this landmark legislation move through the House and Senate and signed into law.


In partnership with Harte Research Institute, program seeks to assist future leaders 
in conservation-based marine science

Shimano and Coastal Conservation Association have announced a partnership to fund four scholarships dedicated to students furthering their marine science education at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

“Science has long been a cornerstone for our corporate fish conservation initiatives,” said Phil Morlock, vice president of Government Affairs /Advocacy for Shimano.  “We are proud to expand our partnership with CCA and HRI to encourage college student anglers to enter the profession of marine fishery sciences.”

Read more: Shimano and CCA Launch National Marine Science Scholarship Program

Join CCA in the cause.

Let our state’s elected leadership hear our collective voice and support of H.R. 200.

HR 200 Onesheet


Click here to download the OneSheet

House Natural Resources Committee Approves Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Bill

Washington, D.C. – December 13, 2017 – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources approved H.R. 200, a bill sponsored by Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) that amends the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide flexibility for fishery managers and stability for fishermen. A coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community endorsed H.R. 200 and highlighted the importance of incorporating saltwater recreational fishing management provisions into the nation’s primary law governing federal fisheries management.

On April 6, 2017, Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.), a leader on recreational fishing issues, introduced H.R. 2023, the Modern Fish Act, to address the challenges facing recreational fishermen in the federal fisheries management system. He was joined by a bipartisan list of 24 cosponsors. Original cosponsors include Congressmen Gene Green (D-Texas), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.). The Modern Fish Act’s legislative language was ultimately included in H.R. 200.

Read more: Landmark Legislation to Benefit Saltwater Anglers Advances in U.S. House


Brands announce partnership in annual event and name Realtree Fishing as Official Camo Pattern of CCA Florida and STAR.

Orlando, FL – December 18, 2017 – CCA Florida, the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries and coastal conservation education and advocacy, today announced details of a new partnership with Realtree and their new Fishing pattern. The partnership includes the naming of Realtree as the ‘Official Camouflage’ of CCA Florida and STAR, the nonprofit’s signature event, creating a partnership helping both organizations meet conservation goals.

In addition, Realtree Fishing is contributing $25,000 to be awarded in the CCA Florida STAR Youth Scholarship Division.  CCA Florida’s “New Tide” (youth) members from ages 6-17 are eligible to participate, ensuring this sponsorship meets Realtree Fishing’s goal of getting youth outdoors.

“Realtree’s dedication to family and friends, conservation, and the outdoor lifestyle make their new Realtree Fishing brand a perfect partner for CCA Florida and the STAR competition,” said STAR Tournament Director Capt. Leiza Fitzgerald.  “Their support of a $25,000 scholarship in the 2018 and 2019 Youth Division of STAR and their support as a sponsor of CCA’s statewide initiatives is a great compliment to our organization’s efforts.”

CCA Florida STAR, presented by Yamaha, is the largest family-friendly saltwater fishing competition in Florida, running each year from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Unlike traditional fishing tournaments, STAR focuses on conservation and offers up to $500,000 in prizes and scholarships.  CCA Florida uses the social media-based event to educate the public on the importance of protecting Florida’s marine resources.  Recognized as a ‘catch, photo and release’ competition, STAR’s smart phone app eliminates the requirement for anglers to harvest or capture and transport fish. 

“I have seen firsthand the great work of CCA Florida and their statewide volunteers,” said Realtree president and CEO Bill Jordan. “With Florida as a next-door neighbor and a great state to hunt and fish, I’ve spent many hours, days and weeks there enjoying the outdoors. CCA Florida has been instrumental in bringing back and maintaining so much of the state’s incredible natural resources, and all of us at Realtree are especially proud to team with such a respected conservation group to keep our traditions alive.”

About Realtree Fishing

Realtree Fishing is a natural extension of parent brand Realtree, the world’s leading camouflage designer, marketer and licensor. Realtree Fishing’s growing partnerships in manufacturing, retail and conservation ensure that the brand’s customers will enjoy the best fishing products, availability and natural resources access for generations to come. Find Realtree Fishing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at RealtreeFishing.com.

About CCA Florida

Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was founded in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations.  One of 19 state chapters, CCA Florida became the fifth state chapter in 1985.  A 501(c)3 non-profit, the purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources.  Through habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives and fisheries advocacy, CCA Florida works with its over 18,000 members including recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to conserve and enhance marine resources and coastal environments.  Join the conversation on Facebook or learn more at ccaflorida.org.

Florida-based boat manufacturer demonstrates dedication to industry growth and environmental restoration with new and expanded statewide sponsorship.

Florida’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries and coastal conservation education and advocacy and Maverick Boat Group have expanded their partnership, and today shared details on the new statewide sponsorship.  The expanded agreement between Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida) and Maverick Boat Group (MBG) allows the statewide nonprofit to enhance habitat and environmental restoration efforts and lead support of industry issues affecting recreational anglers.

“This natural partnership has served us for over 30 years and we are honored to work with Scott Deal and the entire team at Maverick Boat Group,” stated CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski.  “Maverick Boat Group has been a tremendous partner over the years, and this new expanded relationship will allow us to do even more for the industry and environmental restoration, which is a key focus area for CCA Florida and MBG.”

The partnership names Maverick Boat Group and two of its brands (Maverick Boats and Pathfinder Boats) as the Official Shallow Water Skiff and Official Bay Boat of CCA Florida.  In addition, MBG will be the Official Sponsor of the CCA Florida Banquet Trail.  The expanded agreement includes the annual donation of two brand new boats, including a Maverick 17 HPX-S and a Pathfinder 2200TRS for CCA Florida’s statewide boat raffle, which directly benefits habitat work and other projects throughout the state.

“Every time you get out on the saltwater in Florida and catch a fish, CCA Florida has had a hand in making that experience happen,” said Scott Deal, CEO of MBG. “Given the ever-increasing headwinds facing the marine environment and recreational anglers’ rights, now more than ever it makes sense that MBG would grow its longstanding relationship with CCA. We are proud of our partnership and know that CCA will do even more to benefit our customers and all those who fish Florida’s waters.”   

In addition to the CCA Florida sponsorship, the brand will be donating a new Hewes 16’ Redfisher and Pathfinder 2200 TRS to CCA Florida STAR, the organization’s 101-day statewide fishing competition which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Both boats will be prizes in the featured STAR Tagged Redfish Division of the event.

As one of CCA Florida’s fastest growing areas of focus, recent habitat and environmental projects have included offshore and nearshore reef development as well as shoreline stabilization and oyster reef restoration projects.  “These kinds of projects typify CCA Florida’s commitment to education, advocacy and conservation and show their understanding that you cannot have one without the other,” said Scott Deal. 

Contact: Teresa Donaldson | 407.923.3530 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Maverick Boat Group

Located in Fort Pierce, FL, Maverick Boat Group is privately owned and operated and is the manufacturer of the best in breed boat brands Maverick, Hewes, Pathfinder and Cobia. For more information call Charlie Johnson at 772.465.0631 or visit www.maverickboatgroup.com.

About CCA Florida

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was founded in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations.  One of 19 state chapters, CCA Florida became the fifth state chapter in 1985.  A 501(c)3 non-profit, the purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources.  Through habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives and fisheries advocacy, CCA Florida works with its over 18,000 members including recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to conserve and enhance marine resources and coastal environments.  Join the conversation on Facebook or learn more at ccaflorida.org.

Nat’l Hunting + Fishing Day – September 23, 2017

Despite Irma, Celebrating Natl’ Hunting + Fishing Day is Good for Everyone

Saturday, September 23 is National Hunting and Fishing Day.  And at CCA Florida, we’re encouraging our members to acknowledge the day by getting out on the water and celebrating Florida’s recreational fishing heritage.  Despite the recent storm, we believe this is a great opportunity to bring family, friends, our children and teens together for a moment of reflection and joy, with one of America’s oldest pastimes. What a great way to connect with one another.

As most anglers know, Autumn is a great time to fish in Florida as the waters start to cool off and millions of bait fish migrate down our coasts and inland waterways.  Seasonal changes increase anglers’ opportunities to enjoy epic days offshore and inshore.  True to Florida’s outdoor traditions, recreational anglers can fish year-round, from beaches or piers for numerous inshore species to offshore for bottom fish and pelagics, not to mention Florida’s numerous bays and inland waterways for multiple species of trophy fish.

President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1972.  "I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in insuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations,” Nixon said.  Honorary Chairmen over the years have included country music stars Hank Williams, Jr., Luke Bryan, Tracy Byrd, and Travis Tritt, professional athletes Terry Bradshaw, Arnold Palmer, and Wade Boggs, comedian Jeff Foxworthy, professional fisherman Bill Dance, and President George H.W. Bush, among many others.  Fishermen all. 

We’ll use this opportunity to celebrate our members and all conservation-minded citizens who have proven time and time again to be the best stewards of our fishery resources.

From the Keys to the Florida-Georgia line, from the Panhandle through the Big Bend, from Tampa Bay to Everglades National Park, recreational fishing opportunities in Florida abound.  Boost your spirits, energize an otherwise quiet weekend or slow the storm clean up to inspire your children, and ditch the ‘to do’ list.  Get out on the water and make it a great day by taking advantage of what Florida’s fishing and marine resources have to offer, despite the storm.

- Bill Camp, CCA Florida

The National Parks Service has proposed fee increases for commercial and recreational users in the Everglades National Park beginning in 2018. We understand and value the need for increased revenue to the park to maintain and enhance our state’s natural resources, however we’re concerned over the proposed increase for the fishing guide community. We’ve shared our thoughts with Park Superintendent Ramos.

Superintendent Ramos copy