The latest effort in fishing conservation, the Saltwater Conservation Association of Texas (SCA Texas), is opening their headquarters in Austin on Monday, May 14, 2001. SCA Texas is a non-profit 501(c)(3)corporation whose mission is to maintain and improve the health, diversity, and productivity of the coastal waters of the State of Texas to meet the expectations of present and future generations of Texas anglers. SCA Texas represents the 500,000-plus saltwater anglers and the two billion-dollar recreational fishing industry they help to support.
The founders of SCA Texas became alarmed at the declining stocks of commercially exploited saltwater animals and the impact it was having on the recreational fishing in the coastal waters of our state. Habitat destruction, over-harvest, excessive by-catch by commercial fisheries; coupled with the potential for improvement in our recreational fisheries prompted the organization's formation.
To act on its motto of "Protecting tomorrow's fishing today" SCA Texas is coordinating with Texas Parks and Wildlife on their Limited Entry/Commercial Fishing License Buy-Back Program. SCA Texas feels that bait and bay shrimping license retirements are critical for improving our fishing and that the effects of a reduction in shrimping activities will be immediate and widespread. For every pound of shrimp harvested an additional four pounds of fish, crab, and other creatures are also harvested for an estimated 80 million pounds of non-target harvest every year. How can not removing eighty million pounds of by-catch from our waters not be beneficial to the ecosystem?
Another project SCA Texas is working on is habitat creation and restoration in both Texas bays and the Gulf of Mexico. This includes donations of time, money, and suitable artificial reef materials to Texas Parks and Wildlife's Artificial Reef Program. SCA Texas is also looking to restore habitat in bays that has been disturbed by shrimp nets continuously for years. Other endeavors include funding for additional speckled trout restocking, a modified game-fish status for flounder species, restocking flounder in areas in that are over-fished and much more.
SCA Texas is not a political organization and is concerned only with saltwater fishing in Texas. All donations and membership dues go directly into improving Texas coastal waters for residents and visitors alike.
For additional information about SCA Texas, visit their web-page at www.SCATexas.org.