The Coastal Conservation Association of California has honored a true icon of the sportfishing and marine conservation communities — Bill Shedd, CEO of AFTCO and chairman of the CCA CAL state board of directors.
CCA CAL, the sportfishing community, and family and friends have presented to Shedd the 2023 Anthony Hsieh Conservation Award for his lifelong passion, advocacy, and tireless work on behalf of ocean conservancy and recreational fishing access. The award was presented at a gala Aug. 3, 2023, that included a cocktail reception at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute on San Diego’s Mission Bay, followed by dinner and the award ceremony at nearby SeaWorld.
“The Anthony Hsieh Conservation Award is CCA CAL’s highest honor, presented to an individual who has supported sportfishing in California, and has made meaningful contributions toward the protection, restoration, and enhancement of our marine resources,” said Doug Lasko, president of CCA CAL, as well as Okuma Fishing Tackle. “No one fits this persona more than the living legend and visionary, Bill Shedd.”
For more than 30 years, Shedd has volunteered and devoted an enormous amount of his time, energy, and financial resources toward marine conservation and recreational fishing industry issues, while also running one of the most successful sportfishing-oriented business in the world: AFTCO.
Shedd is a founding member of the non-profit CCA CAL — the only state-wide organization fighting for anglers’ rights — and has served as board chairman since its inception in 2015.
He is also chairman of the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, and serves on the board of directors of the Center for Sportfishing Policy, International Game Fish Association, and the California Artificial Reef Enhancement program.
In addition to all of this, Shedd served for seven years on the board of directors for the American Sportfishing Association, and as chairman of the ASA Government Affairs Committee for more than 25 years. He was the co-founder of United Anglers of Southern California, where he led that group’s efforts to develop the white seabass grow-out facilities to support the hatchery program. Shedd also played a pivotal role with UASC in the successful effort to ban inshore set gillnets in California state ocean waters through the passage of Proposition 132 in 1990, now a state constitutional amendment.
In 1989, Shedd started the AFTCO Tag Flag program in both the Atlantic and Pacific, which for 18 years played a major role in increasing awareness of, and participation in, tag-and-release sportfishing. He also served on the board of United Sport Fishermen, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, and on the NOAA Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.
Shedd’s work has brought him worldwide accolades and recognition, including the ASA Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the ASA Hall of Fame. What’s more, he was honored with the IGFA Conservation Award, and just this year was inducted into the IGFA Hall of Fame. And the list of honors goes on, including the CSP Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award, the UASC Bill Ray Memorial Award, the California Outdoor Writers Association Man of the Year Award, Bill Poole Memorial Award, and the Motor Boating Magazine Best of the Year Award. He was also asked in 2018 to be the keynote speaker at the NOAA Fisheries and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission National Recreational Fisheries Summit.
“Please plan to join me, CCA CAL members, leaders in the sportfishing community, and the Shedd family in congratulating Bill Shedd for the receiving the 2023 Anthony Hsieh Conservation Award,” said Lasko.