CCA champions public access, sort of

Obviously the good folks at Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana are not too pleased they’ve found themselves squarely in Louisiana Sportsman’s crosshairs the last few months, and to be fair, I really need to give credit where it is due.CCA has done more to benefit saltwater fisheries in Louisiana than any organization in history. Actually, that’s a ridiculous statement because it’s so obvious. The organization — whatever it is — that’s done the second-most for Louisiana’s saltwater fisheries isn’t even in the same ballpark.

But that’s precisely why CCA’s refusal to get involved in the public-access issue has been so disappointing. It’s like a stalwart Republican senator refusing to vote on a bill that would triple the federal income tax. On the surface, it just doesn’t make sense.

Over the years, CCA has taken off the gloves and fought hard, with bloody knuckles, to get incredibly destructive gill nets out of our waters and to gain much-needed game-fish status for redfish.

But today, CCA won’t battle with the same rage to keep open tidal waters. Aren’t these the waters that hold the very fish CCA fought so mightily to protect?

Louisiana Sportsman has pushed CCA so hard on this issue because the organization’s support is crucial. If CCA doesn’t enter this fight, it’s over before it begins.

Who else will battle for anglers’ rights? Who else has the clout to persuade legislators to pass laws that open tidal waters to the public? Who else can sound the siren to raise money for the certain, lengthy court battle?

No one but CCA.

CCA Executive Director Jeff Angers, however, has told the Sportsman that securing the rights of the public to access all tidal waters is not CCA’s issue. He said the organization would rather focus on conserving the resources, and this simply isn’t a conservation issue.

Well, I guess in a sense he’s right. This isn’t a conservation issue. It’s far more important.

Access to tidal waters is a fundamental right of all American citizens (except, of course, for those in Louisiana), and it’s of primary importance to every saltwater angler. On the national level, CCA recognizes how important this issue is, and has fought tooth and nail to make sure tidal waters aren’t blocked off to public access in the very name of conservation.

Take a look at the following cartoon from the CCA Website. It’s designed to get you to contribute your money to help CCA fight conservationists who want to establish marine protection areas (MPAs), where all fishing would be illegal.

It’s not really all about conservation, is it?

About Todd Masson 741 Articles
Todd Masson has covered outdoors in Louisiana for a quarter century, and is host of the Marsh Man Masson channel on YouTube.