The Kent Narrows Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Maryland is hard at work protecting the Chesapeake Bay and her many rivers its tributaries.
A national organization, CCA was established in 1977 after fourteen founding sport fishermen, dismayed by disappearing game fish populations, decided to band together to improve coastal resources. CCA state chapters now span the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic from Texas to Maine, addressing marine conservation issues on the local, state and national levels. CCA is one of the largest 501(c)(3) non-profit marine conservation organizations in the United States.
In Maryland, CCA has been a leader in efforts to restore striped bass, menhaden, yellow perch, crabs and oysters. The long-term goal is to ensure Maryland adopts strategies for managing tidal fisheries for maximum practicable abundance that are consistent with promoting conservation and the wise use of the state’s limited fisheries resources. CCA MD also participates in spawning surveys, habitat restoration activities, stock improvement projects and assists DNR with unfunded, but critical needs.
“Essentially, we’re an advocate for marine resources in Annapolis for government relations,” says Kent Narrows Chapter President Sean Crawford. “We keep an eye on fishing management.” Local CCA MD chapters conduct fundraisers, increase membership, educate the public and provide fishing opportunities.
This year CCA was the leader in the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI). Although decades-long efforts to restore Maryland’s natural marine habitats are ongoing, additional artificial reef development to enhance Maryland’s marine habitat would improve Maryland’s sport fishing industry.
When tons of concrete material from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge renovation project became available. Maryland’s DNR, working in with the CCA MD as well as charter boat captains and other partners acquired more than 3,900 tons of the material and used it to reinforce an existing reef off Point No Point in St. Mary’s County.
CCA is also a sponsor for the Grow the Oysters program in which hundreds of waterfront property owners grow young oysters from private piers. Protecting young oysters during their vulnerable first year for replanting on local sanctuaries is beneficial as mature oysters enrich the ecosystem and the entire oyster population.
While CCA is a fisheries-based organization mainly concerned with fisheries issues,” says Sean, “that goes hand in hand with oysters and oyster restoration and reefs, artificial reefs and even food sources.”
The first weekend in June, the Kent Narrows Chapter holds its yearly Fly and Light Tackle Fishing Tournament. Participants meet at the Jetty restaurant afterwards to celebrate.
Members receive discounts at local fishing shops and discounts with local guides as well as CCA’s Tide and Chesapeake Tides magazines . Sean says members can learn much about fishing from local experts who speak at club meetings. Kent Narrows Chapter meetings are held on the second Monday of the month (except June, July, and August) at 7:00 p.m at Fisherman’s Inn. Sean will lead a discussion about how the Bay’s tides and currents relate to fishing. For more information, visit www.ccamd.org.