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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
VSSA is now accepting membership applications on our website. We invite all fishermen who fish Virginia saltwater to visit our website and become a member today.

http://www.ifishva.org/membership_form.php

The Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association's (VSSA) purpose is to provide a strong voice in all matters relating to saltwater fishing and safeguard the right to fish recreationally.

The VSSA Goals:

• Unite Virginia Saltwater anglers, both recreational and charter, for all fisheries management issues.

• Communication with all members of VSSA will be a high priority to ensure input is dispersed and received to represent the interests of Virginia Salt Water Anglers.

• Keep members informed of all fishery related issues and represent the positions of VSSA members at the various local, state, and federal levels.

• Protect Virginia marine, boat and tackle industry jobs.

• Ensure the long-term sustainability of Virginia's fisheries.

• Work to prevent unsustainable and damaging fishing, including fishing done on an industrial scale that damages our fishery and ecosystem.

• Support and maintain communication with local Virginia fishing clubs.

Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association (VSSA)
ifishva.org
joinvssa.org
https://www.facebook.com/groups/IfishVA/
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We are attending the tog meeting tonight at the VMRC. (see link).

http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file//55f844adpr29TautogPID_Comment_Hearings_rev.pdf

As you read through the PID, I expect your eyes may roll back in your head as it's a typical government document that is hard to fully understand the impact. Here are the 4 options being considered in the PID.

Option 1 (Current Stock Definition) Single Stock: Massachusetts - North Carolina

Option 2 (3 stocks) 1) Massachusetts- Connecticut ~2) New York-New Jersey 3) Delaware-North Carolina

Option 3 (3 stocks) 1) Massachusetts - Rhode Island 2) Connecticut - New Jersey 3) Delaware - North Carolina

Option 4 (4 stocks) 1) Massachusetts - Rhode Island 2) Long Island Sound (Connecticut - New York) 3) New York - New Jersey (excluding LIS) 4) Delaware - North Carolina

Here is why we think this is important and why we think VSSA and recreational anglers should care and get involved:

Results of VMRC tagging clearly show our togs don't migrate and only move small distances when they do move. There is not a single stock and Virginia togs do not mingle or migrate with our northern state togs. As you read through the PID, you will see that the northern states catch considerable more tog than we do in Virginia. And our northern neighbors are experiencing overfishing while Virginia is not. Our northern neighbor states are already getting involved in this process and want to keep Option 1 which is status quo, the way things are now. If our northern neighbors are successful in keeping Option 1 and keep on overfishing as I'm sure they probably will, then when cuts have to be made again, we all get cut, including Virginia. We believe any option other than 1 is good for Virginia which separates Virginia from the northern states. So as our northern states get forced to take cuts, then perhaps we in Virginia can either keep our current limits or perhaps get some relief and get some back.

Option 1 is bad for Virginia and we must communicate this to ASMFC.

So it's very important that we communicate this message to the ASMFC. We will do this tonight at the public meeting as well as send a VSSA letter to ASMFC by the deadline. Additionally, as many anglers as possible should send letters to ASMFC. We will help by making some draft templates available for you to use when sending your letter after tonight's meeting.

Get involved to help protect Virginia's tog fishery. More to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Attended the tog meeting Tuesday evening with Dr. Bob Allen. Only 3 others in attendance, Will Branson, David Agee, and Jeff Deem. Will Branson did a great job in getting input and representing 3 fishing clubs (NAC, VBAC, and GBAC). All were in agreement that Option 1 is not a good for Virginia and conveyed that message to Ashton Harp, ASMFC rep. Some wanted option 4 which would also be acceptable to everyone at the meeting. Lots of discussion about accuracy of stock assessments and best way to monitor. Also concern for poaching of smaller tog particularly from northern states. I did request that ASMFC figure out how to allow states (VMRC) to extend the tog season for short periods of time as needed. This spring was very cold in Virginia and the tog bite didn't really get good until mid-April giving us only 2 weeks or so of good fishing before closing on 1 May 2015. A request was made to extend tog fishing for just 2 weeks which was a very reasonable request in my opinion. But VMRC did not have the authority to extend the season without going through a lengthy process with ASMFC.

With only 5 present at the public hearing, Virginia needs to send ASMFC emails and letters to make sure Option 1 does not become a reality. VSSA is preparing a letter to send addressing all the ASMFC points in the PID and encourage all anglers who fish for tog do the same. We will share the draft VSSA letter for comment before sending but I this not be a contentious issue among rec anglers. More to follow.

Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 23, 2015 and should be forwarded to Ashton Harp, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A‐N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at [email protected] (Subject line: Tautog PID). For more information, please contact Ashton Harp, at [email protected] or 703.842.0740.
 

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Four more members, just completed family membership and sent letter on tog. Thanks for all the effort to everyone getting this going and keeping up informed. Hope the politicians will soon take notice as membership grows.
 

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Mike and others involved I think your efforts here are to be commended and will join ranks. Perhaps you have addressed it previously but has the board created a budget for the use of dues. I am sure organizing costs need to be recouped but would be interested what the dues money will be spent on. I would assume costs of board members attending fisheries related meetings and hopefully lobbying. Can you elaborate perhaps here or in a separate thread. Thanks again for all the hard work.
 

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As a Board member of VSSA, I will give my opinion: VSSA is a 501 3-C tax exempt , non profit organization and cannot directly lobby-or the tax qualification will be removed. We had some organizational expenses , most were paid by the interim Board members donations -gifts before VSSA was approved by the State of VA as a non-proift, and before IRS declared VSSA a 501-3-C approved corporation

VSSA has no great plans (that I know of) to pay any member of the organization for travel expenses. As a matter of fact, the organization is run on a very tight financial leash. One Board member has paid tax-deductible contribution of $500 to become a life member--the others have made $25 contributions at one time or anther. The membership fee is not large and in the instance of a "club " joining , en-mass, the total cash contributions received from "associate club" members is a pittance =$1 per member. Some Clubs have 30 members that will equal to $30 for thirty new VSSA members. Some clubs have 120 members and by joining (if any do choose that route to membership), will contribute $120 annually. I think VSSA is not going to be overwhelmed with cash. One member of the interim VSSAS Board of directors is a recency licensed attorney and he has contributed his much-needed serves at no cost to VSSA. There have been some printing costs, IRS costs, State corporate registration fees, and with some 65 members paying $25 to become VSSA members, the last I heard was that we ckurently have about $700 in the bank account.

VSSA has never been about money or what to do with the cash (if we raise much); it is about making the cost to belong so low that most recreational anglers will be happy to be a part of this well, thought out group representing them at every level.

Several of the interim Board have already attended ASMFC and VMRC meetings at their own expense--and probably wiil continue to do so , as each is dedicated to the "cause". Open elections will be one way members can effect the direction and motives of the Board and the VSSA. A permanent Board will be elected after the new year to replace the interim Board of Directors.

In order to make the claim that VSSA represents all recreational anglers in VA, VSSA needs members --VSSA needs numbers to demonstrate to VMRC and ASMFC that VSSA is a viable representative.

One good answer to the inquiry about money--is to reply that VSSA was formed as a Virginia organization , independent of any connection to any national recreational fishing organization--so we do not anticipate fund raisers , nor tournaments, no auctions, and we do not send any of members dues or contributions out of Virginia to any national parent organization.

I hope this elaborates on some of the thoughts that have gone into the formation of VSSA.

One of the goals of dissemination meaningful information of interest to recreational angles is already being achieved.

VSSA is up and running.


Dr. Bob Allen, Hampton VA .
 

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Thanks Bob that was very informative and about what I assumed. I did not intend to make you or anyone else feel defensive. I know the board members are not about money but the health of the fisheries and applaud everyones contribution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jimmie, Everything Bob said above is spot on. Basically the budget for 2015 will be small covering mostly startup costs and small printing jobs. Once we have some members and additional funds available, our budget will be formulated with significant input from the members and anglers. We expect to soon have public meetings where anglers can provide input on VSSA is doing and how we spend the money. One of the issues we are still addressing is, beyond fishery management representing rec anglers, what else does VSSA want to do for the rec angler? These will be the topics addressed during the public meetings we are planning and from all that will be the basis of a longer term spend plan and budget. Hope this answers the question.

Mike
 
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