CCA outlines plans for oil spill recovery in meeting with Sen. Richard Shelby

Meeting with Sen. Richard Shelby seeks support for habitat restoration, hatchery

Posted on June 21, 2010

ORANGE BEACH, AL - In a meeting with U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Coastal Conservation Association Alabama called on BP and the federal government to support plans for habitat restoration and construction of a saltwater fish hatchery/research center to reverse damages to Gulf marine resources as quickly as possible. Sen. Shelby traveled to Orange Beach on June 19 to meet with business owners, recreational anglers, and commercial fisherman impacted by the spill.

“The quality of recreational fishing is not just a matter for fishermen,” CCA Alabama Chairman Edwin Lamberth told Sen. Shelby. “It affects every single business that depends on revenue from recreational fishermen visiting Alabama’s coast. We must restore recreational fishing quickly not only to ensure that the resource is protected for the long-term, but also to get business back on their feet.”
 
Lamberth explained that the best way to reverse the damage done to the recreational fishery is to begin habitat restoration projects as soon as the oil spill is contained or stopped, and begin preparations for construction of a fish hatchery and marine research center to rebuild local fish populations.
 
“I have always been a supporter of marine habitat projects such as oyster bed restoration on Alabama’s coast, and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure our habitat is protected and restored,” Sen. Shelby said.
 
CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson recently testified before the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife on the impacts of the oil spill and also emphasized the need for a commitment to habitat restoration and hatchery/research facilities. CCA’s Building Conservation Program has initiated hundreds of projects to protect and restore marine habitat.
 
“CCA Alabama has made substantial investments in the construction of inshore and offshore artificial reefs, grass bed and marsh protection, and oyster bed projects,” Lamberth said. “Our members undertook those projects proactively to ensure our fisheries would remain robust and healthy. But the scale of this disaster is unprecedented and while we certainly have the manpower and the willpower to do our part, we’ll need willing partners to do everything that needs to be done to restore the marine environment.”
 
CCA Alabama intends to meet with BP officials, the State of Alabama Department of Conservation, and the marine science departments of the University of South Alabama, Auburn University, and the University of Alabama to formulate plans for a hatchery/research center and to develop habitat projects that will produce the greatest impact when the leak is stopped and efforts shift from clean-up to repair. 
 
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CCA is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the nation. With almost 100,000 members in 17 state chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977. Visit www.JoinCCA.org for more information.
 
CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH