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Anglers for Clean Water

About ACW

Showing off his catch. Photo copyright Karine Aigner/iLCP
Photo © Karine Aigner/iLCP

Find out more about Anglers for Clean Water (ACW), a new project from CBF's Fisheries Program, and how you can get involved.

Keep the Bay on Track

Fisherman throwing net at sunset. Image by Nancy Loving
Photo by Nancy Loving

The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint means healthy habitat for aquatic life. Find out what the Blueprint is and why it's our last, best hope for real restoration.

Whose Fish Are They?

Spawning shad. Photo by Jay Fleming
Photo by Jay Fleming

Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Alaska, and 17 other states are backing Big Agriculture's efforts to derail Chesapeake Bay restoration.


Help save our fisheries for the next generation of anglers.   Join us today

"If sportsmen and environmentalists worked together, they would be invincible" ~Ted Williams, outdoors writer

Anglers for Clean Water (ACW) is a new project from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Fisheries Program. Our aim is to grow and strengthen the natural partnership between environmentalists and anglers by reaching out each month to established angling clubs across the Chesapeake Bay watershed to inspire, educate, equip, and mobilize them to be advocates for clean water. Find out more.


Striped bass (rockfish) eating menhaden.  Courtesy The Pew Charitable Trusts


Little Fish That Big Fish Eat

This "Angler's Almanac" column from Chesapeake Bay Magazine, June 2012 is a quick, basic primer on Chesapeake baitfish, published just before the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) enacted a Total Allowable Catch limit on menhaden in the fall of that year.

Read More (PDF)

Osprey with menhaden   iStock


Menhaden Fact Sheet

The current "Species" page for menhaden from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission web site includes notes on the current status of the stock and possible future actions. The 2013 coastwide catch for both reduction and bait was firmly within the new Total Allowable Catch (TAC).   Read Now

Susquehanna River Hickory shad    Photo copyright Jay Fleming/iLCP


CBF Letter Requesting Offshore Protection for Shad & Herring

In the fall of 2013, CBF's Fisheries Program Director Bill Goldsborough sent this letter to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) seeking offshore bycatch protection for river herring and shad, whose stocks are much diminished today but which historically played critical roles in the Chesapeake's forage base. Read Now

Graphic: Bycatch: Sea life unintentionally caught and often killed during fishing for another species. Credit: Herring Alliance


Mid-Atlantic Managers Further Restrict Bycatch of River Herring and Shad

The online newsletter, FishTalk, covers the action that the MAFMC took this spring to restrict the bycatch of river herring and shad in the offshore Atlantic mackerel fishery. Read Now

bay anchovy courtesy VIMS


Bay Anchovies Fact Sheet

This article on the Chesapeake's most abundant forage species, the bay anchovy, by Dr. Ed Houde of the University of Maryland's Chesapeake Biological Laborator, takes a good look at the characteristics and ecology of this important little fish—one that does not receive enough credit for its role in this ecosystem. Read more

Blackwater Wildlife Refuge


The Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up the Chesapeake

This first-ever analysis released by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation finds that the economic benefits provided by nature in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will total $130 billion annually when the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is fully implemented,

A blue heron snags an evening snack. Photo by Kevin Moore


Saving America from a Clean Chesapeake

In the summer 2014 issue of Fly Rod & Reel Magazine, noted outdoor writer, Ted Williams, gives an excellent overview of the current efforts by the American Farm Bureau, 20 states' attorneys general, and others to stop the clean up of the Chesapeake Bay.  Read More

IMAGE CREDITS: (from top)The Pew Charitable Trusts, iStock, Jay Fleming/iLCP, The Herring Alliance,  VIMS, iStock,  Kevin Moore


In the News

10.30.14 - CBF Press Release CBF Issues Statement Following ASMFC Decision to Reduce Harvest of Striped Bass

10.26.14 - Governor signs bill ending buffer requirement for PA’s cleanest streams

09.21.14 - Sport, commercial fishermen differ over striped bass options

09.18.14 - CBF Blog: Rockfish: Down But Not Out

09.09.14 - Outdoors officials reeling in frustration over splotches on river bass

08.20.14 - Algae flourishes after record rainfall

07.10.14 - Saving America from a Clean Chesapeake

06.17.14 - With historic votes, Atlantic marine councils seek to protect the ocean food chain

05.14.14 - Federal Regulators Debate Catch Reduction as Striped Bass Drop

05.13.14 - Commission to consider gradual rockfish catch limits

05.12.14 - New rockfish catch limits eyed

05.07.14 - Norfolk gets $60K to continue restoration of Knitting Mill Creek

05.03.14 - Long-term effects on James River from Lynchburg train derailment concern Riverkeepers

05.01.14 - Bay crab population decreases

04.29.14 - Cause of Floating Dead Fish In Maryland Waters Remains A Mystery

04.22.14 - Bay had more grasses

04.22.14 - Bay's grasses up, but not in Anne Arundel

04.21.14 - CBF Press Statement: CBF Issues Statement Following Release of Bay Grass Numbers

04.18.14 - Oyster restoration at Harris Creek showing real promise

03.12.14 - Oyster poaching in VA a cat & mouse game with serious consequences

02.27.14 - Jacob’s Oyster Dredging Bill Heads to Environmental Committee, CBF to Oppose

02.27.14 - Sportsmen Need to Get Involved in Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Battle

02.11.14 - Restoring iconic Chesapeake Bay oyster


Careful anglers think about the fish they keep and the fish they release. Angling is a recreational activity done for fun and sport. One key to maintaining healthy fish populations is making sure angling is done carefully, legally, and in a way that helps them thrive.

Fishing on Mattawoman Creek. Krista Schlyer/iLCP

The Zen of 'Careful Catch'

A little TFC (tender fish-handling care) goes a long way toward preserving all species for future anglers. In this Angler's Almanac article, John Page Williams urges, "Let's Be Careful Out There."


Tools and tackle for practicing "careful catch" technique

Planning Ahead

One key to careful angling is planning ahead. Before putting a line in the water, decide what you will keep for trophy or dinner. Have all the tools and tackle necessary for properly releasing fish.


This fish-eye view of an angler shows a rarely seen perspective from underwater grass beds at Havre de Grace, Maryland.  Photo by Octavio Aburto/iLCP

Catch and Release

Catch-and-release fishing can be an effective way to conserve fish if certain precautions are taken. Check out these tips and tools.

Read More

A northern puffer fish, picked out of crab nets, expands just before it is released back into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay at Tangier Sound, Maryland. Photo by Karine Aigner/iLCP

Take the Anglers' Pledge

As recreational anglers, we know about tides and currents, bottom characteristics, and the best conditions of both for catching fish. We also know that pollution, loss of habitat, and overfishing reduce the numbers and health of the fish in our waterways. Show your stewardship of our waterways and fisheries-take the Anglers' Pledge.


Photo credits: (from top) Krista Schlyer/iLCP, CBF Staff, Octavio Aburto/iLCP, Karin Aigner/iLCP


Algal bloom encroaching on a waterfront home. Photo by Andrea Moran/CBF Staff Pollution

What causes water pollution? What does water pollution cause? From polluted runoff from land to dead zones and algal blooms in our waters, everything has consequences.  Learn more

MenhadenForage Fish

They are the little fish that big fish eat and they are facing their own challenges. Learn More

Oyster reef ball and fish. Photo c Michael EversmierHabitat

To Come   Habitat lost. Habitat restored. Take a look at how land use is compromising marine habitat and how efforts such as oyster restoration are bringing habitat back. 

A northern puffer fish, picked out of crab nets, expands just before it is released back into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay at Tangier Sound, Maryland. Photo by Karine Aigner/iLCPMaking Progress

To Come    Is it all bad news or are we making strides with the Clean Water Blueprint? 

Lesions on a smallmouth bass. Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission/C. Yamashita  Health

To Come    Water quality impacts both marine life and human life. What health issues do we all face and what can we do about them?

Photo credits: (from top) CBF Staff, CBF Staff, ©Michael Eversmier, ©Karine Aigner/iLCP, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission/C. Yamashita 

Find out what other issues are affecting the health of the Bay.



  1. Abide by fishery regulations.
    Overfishing reduces next year's catch and disrupts the Bay's food web.
  2. Carefully release unwanted fish.
    Undersized and unwanted fish must be conserved to maintain healthy fisheries.
  3. Dispose of old fishing gear on shore.
    Fishing line and nets discarded overboard entangle and kill marine life
  4. Collect all trash for disposal on shore.
    Trash cans should be standard gear. We must not treat our waters like a dump.
  5. Keep oil and gas out of the water.
    Oil and gas are toxic to fish. Be careful when filling tanks asnd changing oil.
  6. Contain human waste for on-shore disposal.
    Pollution from human waste reduces water quality and closes areas to fishing.
  7. Use antifouling paints with care.
    These and other paints and solvents are very toxic to marine life.
  8. Prevent cleaners from washing overboard.
    Even common cleaning products cause pollution.
  9. Save old antifreeze for on-shore disposal.
    Antifreeze can be very toxic to fish.
  10. Avoid boat speeds that cause large wakes.
    Boat wakes contribute to shoreline erosion and the loss of seagrass beds.

Click here to take the Angler's Pledge



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