Conservation & Regulation Efforts

Conservation & Regulation Reform

Within this report, we will refer both the American Catfishing Association and to the ACA Conservation Foundation. Due to federal regulations that specifically limit the activities of a 501c3 not for profit organization, the American Catfishing Association will implement any and all activities that may be considered political influencing.

For more information about what the ACA Conservation Foundation can and cannot do, please review the ACACF by clicking here.

Regulation reform and the conservation of the various catfish species found in the countless fisheries around the country remain a paramount task and objective of the American Catfishing Association and the ACA Conservation Foundation. 

Where certain species of catfish are not considered invasive, there is an array of objectives the ACA will set out to achieve for the top 3 species of catfish; Blue Catfish, Flathead Catfish and Channel Catfish.

1. On a Federal Level

  • Classifying these top 3 species as a Game/Sportfish.
  • To prohibit the transportation over state lines the top 3 species of catfish for the purpose of “pay lake” exploitation.

2. On a State Level

  1. To install size and catch limits
  2. To prohibit the harvesting of trophy size/breeding size top catfish species during the summer spawn.
  3. To prohibit and/or limit commercial over-harvesting
  4. To encourage and boost state and local recreational catfishing

3. For the Catfish Community

  • To teach and promote responsible fishing practices
  • To encourage tournaments and events to limit their catch rules and policies
  • To promote and teach proper fish care
  • To encourage community fellowship and proper sportsmanship

The objectives set forth are significant. Advocates of these efforts must understand that to successfully accomplish these numerous and important objectives will take dedication, perseverance and time. A large consideration and understanding is that the politics of such objectives all have various motivators, as well as adversaries. To succeed, we will undoubtedly need to carefully cultivate political relationships, assemble both scientific and economic data, and prove our regulation and conservation objectives will provide significant benefits at every level. It must also be understand that as we seek to accomplish every objective, some may be unobtainable due to one factor or another. However, the catfish community can rest assured that every effort, year upon year, will be continuously made to achieve the highest level of success.


2020 – 2021 Objectives

1. Establish the ACA Conservation Committee

Conservation, regulations and reform at all levels is and will remain a priority mission on the part of the ACA and its membership. This committee will be tasked with creating policies and objectives to ensure our nation's fisheries remain prioritized and protected. Additionally, the committee will be responsible for creating subcommittees in states throughout the nation to cause change and protection where needed.

The ACA will seek to recruit 7 members to serve on this benchmark committee. These members will possess talents and experience that will be best suited to accomplish our sought after objectives.

2. Complete and Implement 2021 Objectives

Once the full committee has been selected and seated, work will begin right away to formalize the 2021 tasks and objectives. These tasks will include the development of tools and resources, formalizing introduction correspondence, selecting outside professional services and guidance, establishing an annual budget, and establishing fund raising activities and efforts.

In conjunction with the ACA Conservation Committee fund raising activities, the American Catfishing Association Conservation Foundation will begin diligent efforts to secure grant funding from both public and private sources.

3a-3d. Fund Raising

Every year it will take a significant amount of resources to facilitate the efforts to reform, administer and establish regulation and conservation programs and policies throughout the country. Although a significant portion of the annual membership dues will go to fund part of what will be needed. How the ACA raises the additional funds needed every year must be determined by an alliance of committees and ACA administration personnel.

Consideration and efforts will be made to secure funds through the following:

  • Local, State and Federal Grants
  • Private Fund Grants
  • Raffles
  • Direct Mail/Email Campaigns
  • Sponsorship Underwriting
  • Business/Institutional Donations
  • Events
  • Private Donations

Use of the funds will primarily be used for the following:

  • Scientific Studies
  • Economic Impact Studies
  • Legal Services
  • Legislative Services (Lobbyists)
  • Commission/Legislative Symposium
  • Printing
  • Postage
  • Travel

4 & 5. Introduction Correspondence

As efforts move forward in 2021, introducing the ACA and it foreseeable objectives will be outlined in an introductory letter that will be addressed to an extensive list of federal and state officials. These officials and offices will include state and federal legislators, fish and wildlife commissioners/directors. The ACA introduction letter will be professional in nature, resolute, while inviting the various agencies and offices to align with the association to form an amical partnership designed for accomplish the best results possible for all parties.

6a-6b. National Catfish Study Report

When addressing the various commissions and legislative bodies, we must have in place various comprehensive scientific and economic information to affirm our objectives. Although the various fish and wildlife commissions tend to appreciate the science matter, the policy makers, that being the legislators and legislative committees, have a greater interest with the economic impact and a positive public relations impact.

With the aforementioned in mind, the ACA Conservation Foundation, and with the proper financial resources in place, will commission one of the most respected outdoor industry research organizations to complete a state and national overview report. The report will encompass species/sector scientific data, angler demographics, industry/segment history and projections and economic impact reviews and projections. The firm selected to complete our required report is a nationally known and is highly respected by both state and federal agencies.

Before the ACA can successfully move forward, it is vital that the ACA Conservation Foundation commission this report as soon as possible. The estimated cost of having this highly comprehensive report completed is estimated to be $25,000.00+/- and will take several months for this information to be collected and a detailed report to be delivered.

7a-7b. Legislative Bill Template

Contrary to the perception of the majority of the public, legislative bodies rarely author their own bills. Legislative Bills are commonly created by outside organizations and presented to the various governing bodies for sponsorship and endorsement. Therefore, it will be the responsibility of the ACA to create a Legislation Bill that embodies the optimum regulations we as a catfish community desire to effect.

Step one will be to discover current legislation that reflects as closely as possible the proper language and our desire objectives. The second step will be to adjust the language of the Legislative Bill so that it meets or exceeds our desired reform requirements. As the Legislative Bill takes shape, it will be designed to be used as a template for both Federal and State implementation. Once the template is in place, the cost of customizing our Legislative Bill for presentation to the ACA’s targeted agencies and governing bodies will be greatly reduced and streamlined.

The ACA will need to retain legal counsel that specializes in creating Legislative Bills, matched with a successful passage history. The cost to research and prepare our highly specific Legislation Bill is estimated to be $15,000+/-. Although seemingly a high cost to begin with, being that the ACA will now have a comprehensive template to customize and employ, the cost to create a Legislative Bill for any certain Federal or State governing body will be greatly reduced. Additionally, not only will the cost be reduced, but so will be the time to complete and deliver. This expedited capability will afford the ACA the ability to present a Legislative Bill within days, not months.

8 & 9. Compose Conservation Reports and Information Package

As the 2021 objectives are accomplished, assembly of a comprehensive report and informational package and presentation will be professionally assembled. This new informational presentation package will include the culmination of the completed ACA National Catfish Study, an overview and copy of the Legislation Bill, and a very specific conservation and regulation reform objective summary.

The ACA will than formalize this entire report into a professionally designed presentation that will include both a printed and bound report as well as a detailed slide presentation placed on a thumb drive. Additionally, a link to both the printed format and to the digital slide presentation will be made available on the ACA website.

With multiple copies of the aforementioned information in hand, the ACA will include a formal announcement of our planned Commission and Legislation Symposium. This entire package will be formally sent to targeted Federal and State wildlife commissions and legislatures.

10. Outreach Efforts

After allowing for the receipt and review of the ACA presentation package, and the various agencies now realizing the ACA is proposing a serious comprehensive effort, select ACA committee members and organization administrators will implement a pre-determined and well-reviewed personal outreach effort to have a conversation with each and every recipient.

The objective of this important outreach effort will be to ensure the understanding of the information provided, answer any question, address various comments and suggestions and finally to establish what is hoped to be a respected partnership with the various leaders the ACA will need to accomplish our objectives on behalf of the catfish community.

The importance of this outreach effort is paramount. This will give the ACA the opportunity to demonstrate its validity and resolve.

11. Organize & Schedule Symposium

One of the most important efforts the ACA can initiate will be the creation of a well-organized symposium. The purpose of this event will be to assemble as many federal and state representatives in one location, at one time.

This plan of action will expedite our efforts, while eliminating the need to spend untold time and money addressing our reform efforts one agency or office at a time. The anticipated outcome is to form an important alliance of government agencies and offices that are at least willing to consider, but more importantly convinced to assist the efforts of the ACA with accomplishing it’s sought after regulation and conservation reform objectives.

This important event will be a single day conference, located in a strategic location that is both centralized and easily accessible. The symposium objective will be to assemble a presentation panel of experts and influencers, matched with key members of the ACA committees, administration and membership.

Once well organized and a completed agenda in hand, symposium invitations along with personal encouragement will be directed to federal and state agencies and legislators to attend.

12. Conduct ACA Conservation Reform Symposium

The ACA Conservation Reform Symposium will amount to be the single most important accomplishment the ACA can achieve. The relationships that hoped to be developed in a single gathering will expedite our objectives far greater than anything ever undertaken in the past.

The symposium will take place over a 24 hour period. Upon the arrival of the various panel participants as well as the invited government officials, the ACA will host an evening “meet and greet.” This informal gathering is meant to further validate the ACAs resolve as well as cultivate vital business relationships.

Additionally, it will allow all participants the opportunity to casually get acquainted and exchange various ideas, comments and suggestions.

Allowing for next day morning arrivals, the symposium will begin late morning starting with a luncheon. This will allow the ACA team to meet in advance of the scheduled symposium and adjust any segment of the afternoon’s presentation based on any late information gathering. Following a 1 hour luncheon, between 1pm and 2pm the ACA will make our entire presentation. Between 2pm and 4pm we will conclude with an open Q&A discussion forum.

For those officials and ACA team members that remain, an early evening gathering will be conducted to further advance our objectives through informal discussions.

Days following the conclusion of the symposium, the ACA will send out a thank you and follow-up correspondence that will recap the event and its accomplishments to all invited guests whether or not they attended. Additionally, a news release will be issued recapping the event, the discussed objectives and hopeful results.

13. Schedule Hearings

With the successful conclusion of the ACA symposium along with having the important various ACA reports, tools and objectives in hand, the ACA will begin to schedule various hearings with state and/or federal law makers.

Late 2021 and into 2022 the ACA will begin its diligent process of securing new regulations and laws in place to protect and enhance the sport of catfishing.

14. Establish 2022 Committee Objectives & Budget

Considering 2021 will undoubtedly be a busy and hopeful productive year, the conservation efforts needed to secure and retain proper polices will continue on for many years to come.

In the last quarter of every year, the ACA conservation committee along with administration personnel of the ACA Conservation Foundation will evaluate the year’s accomplishments and set, just as we have published here, an agenda of objectives and establish budgets for the coming year.

The American Catfishing Association and the ACA Conservation Foundation will always strive to do everything we can to promote effective regulations, ensure reasonable conservation programs and policies and most importantly serve the catfish community.

Your membership and donations are critical to our efforts. Without your dedication and commitment, the accomplishments and efforts of the ACA will be greatly affected. Please help us however you can. Thank you.

Join the Conservation & Regulation Committee

If you would like to be considered for the ACA Conservation & Regulation committee, complete our committee application form to get started.