Coastal Conservation Association Texas deepened its commitment to marine resource science with a $250,000 grant to the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation (CSSC) that will fund ongoing research into many of the key scientific issues facing the ecosystems that support Gulf of Mexico sportfishing. The CSSC is housed within the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and was founded in 2012, in part with a $500,000 commitment from CCA Texas.

“In the few short years that the Center has been operating, marine researchers there have developed incredible insights into the needs and behaviors of key species that anglers cherish,” said Mark Ray, chairman of CCA Texas. “We are learning things that can immediately be applied to better the management of those species. The work to date has been extremely impressive and we want to ensure that the Center has everything it needs to continue to be a force for healthy marine resources.”

Since 2012, CSSC has done extensive work on the impact that passes like Cedar Bayou have on bay ecosystems and on the effect of diminishing Gulf habitat. It is also helping to pioneer development of an extensive array of sensors and tracking technology to gain critical insight into the migratory patterns of fish throughout the Gulf of Mexico. The latest $250,000 grant from CCA Texas will be applied over five years to continue these and other research efforts.

“Recreational anglers are our natural partners in the conservation of marine resources, and the Center is uniquely positioned to develop science that supports the multi-billion dollar recreational fishing industry on the Texas coast and the Gulf of Mexico,” said Dr. Greg Stunz, director of CSSC and Endowed Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health at the Harte Research Institute. “This is a unique partnership that is focused solely on improving the marine environment, and we are excited to have additional resources to fulfill that mission.”

“Both inshore and offshore sportfish face many challenges – natural and man-made – and it is critical that the science is available to properly manage those fisheries,” said Robby Byers, CCA Texas executive director. “Recreational anglers have already recognized that the work being done by CSSC is vital to the health and availability of those resources in the future. We are proud to be a partner in their efforts and look forward to building this unique relationship.”