By: Jeremy Alford
The states largest recreational fishing lobby has elected Bob Bush of Lake Charles as its new chairman. The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana has several thousand members statewide and is a local affiliate of a national group that lobbies Congress and the White House. Bush, an insurance executive, succeeds longtime chairman Jack Lawton. Bushs election as chairman represents a clean slate for CCAs top leadership. After 15 years as executive director, Jeff Angers stepped down last year. He was succeeded by David Cresson of Baton Rouge, who previously served as the CEO of the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation. Bush says his overriding goal will remain to advance CCAs agenda for responsible stewardship of Louisianas marine resources. Specific issues of concern include coastal erosion, preserving fisheries and helping the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries secure proper funding. Bush also wants CCA to maintain its large stable of volunteers and to continue raising money for new reef and fishing structures. CCAs clout reflects its own grassroots structure; over the past decade, membership in local chapters has tripled while statewide rolls have increased more than sevenfold. Founded in 1983, CCA led the fight to ban gill nets in state waters, to limit commercial speckled trout fishing to a rod and reel, and to designate redfish as a gamefish. All of those issues put the group at odds with commercial fishing interests.