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Organization: Chapters and Central Operations
Members are involved largely through 14 Chapters around the region. Each Chapter holds monthly meetings where membershear charterboat captains and guides talk about what fish are available and how to catch them; scientists discuss the results of studies on the fisheries and the environment; members share information among themselves about fishing successes; and individuals enjoy each other’s comaraderie. Chapters hold their own fishing contests, charter trips to local and out-of-state hotspots, hold social events such as crab feasts, and generally develop a sense of community. All Chapters sponsor fishing events for children to teach them the joys of fishing and the need to be good conservationists.
MSSA is governed by an elected President and other officers as well as a Board of Directors, composed of presidents of all Chapters and four at-large members. A small central staff, an Executive Director and an assistant, coordinate the work of individual Chapters, give a collective voice to their concerns, and represents their interests to policy-makers at every level of government. All the work of MSSA is provided by volunteers, with the exception of the two paid staff members .
Advocacy for A Sustainable Environment
MSSA routinely advocates for sustainable public policies. Its leaders offer advice and serve on advisory bodies for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fisheries of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Because creating effective public policies and practices requires more than a single voice, MSSA regularly partners with other like-minded groups to advance eco-friendly practices.
Special Focus on Children
All Chapters have special fishing events for children to introduce them to the sport of fishing and the enjoyment of nature. Each year several dozen events for children are held, with hundreds of youth involved. Many of these children have never had a fishing rod in their hand, and often the rods and reels they use are given to them to encourage their lifelong passion.
The MSSA Scholarship Foundation was established to collect tax-deductible donations and award college scholarships to talented students with a demonstrated commitment to the health of the Bay and the Coastal eco-systems. To date more than $200,000 has been awarded as a means to grow future stewards of the natural environment. Already, graduates have started careers in environmental research and education or continued to earn advanced degrees in such fields as marine biology or environmental studies.
Dues have remained modest in order to encourage the largest possible membership. MSSA is operated almost entirely by volunteers, and 100 percent of the dues is used to support its mission. Member dues actually provide only a small portion of the expenses of MSSA, and they
must be supplemented by additional income from corporate sponsorships, fishing tournaments, advertisements in Tidelines (the quarterly house magazine), and donations from individuals.
Benefits of Membership
There are many benefits of membership in MSSA.
These several benefits far exceed the minimal cost of membership. On a sheer cost-benefit analysis, membership is a no brainer for anyone interested in protecting eco-systems and the rights and responsibilities of recreational anglers.
Additional Resources and Information
Additional information can be obtained at two web sites: www.mssa.net and www.mssascholarships.com. Information is available about the individual Chapters and contacts; officers, board members, and staff; corporate partners and discounts they offer; membership application form; and links to other useful sites, such as weather, tides, and other organizations.
MSSA Governing Documents
MSSA By Laws – January 2014