NEW ORLEANS – The American Sportfishing Association has awarded its prestigious Future of Fishing Award to Center for Coastal Conservation Founding Chairman Jack Lawton Jr. for his work nurturing and growing recreational fishing over the past three decades. ASA presented Lawton the award Oct. 14 at its annual conference in New Orleans.
The Future of Fishing Award is given to an individual or organization that has made a special contribution to advancing fishing participation. The award recognizes significant contributions to foster new anglers, encourage family fishing and promote community involvement in fishing events.
Lawton founded the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana 30 years ago, paving the way for responsible conservation and the promotion of recreational fishing across the state. CCA’s Louisiana chapter has grown to the second largest among the 17 states that comprise CCA’s membership base nationally.
During Lawton’s 25 years as chairman of CCA Louisiana, the organization expanded significantly into an influential force that protected redfish with gamefish status, established a ban on gill nets and initiated countless habitat and coastal restoration projects.
“For three decades, the sportfishing community has looked to Jack Lawton as a champion for marine conservation in the U.S.,” said Mike Nussman, president and chief executive of the American Sportfishing Association. “It was only fitting that we recognize his considerable efforts with one of the highest awards the industry can bestow on an individual: ASA’s Future of Fishing Award. Jack’s leadership in saltwater fishing access is paying dividends for America’s anglers from coast to coast.”
In addition to his long-running work with CCA Louisiana, Lawton founded the Center for Coastal Conservation in 2006. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promotes sportfishing and conservation issues on a national level and includes an affiliated political action committee – Center PAC – to promote the Center’s marine conservation mission among elected officials at the federal level.
Center founder honored with Future of Fishing Award/ADD1-1-1
Lawton accepted the award on behalf of all the members of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “This award honors the commitment of the Center’s individual and institutional members to fighting – and winning – battles for anglers in Washington,” Lawton said. “On behalf of all our members, thank you.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal praised Lawton at the ASA awards ceremony, noting that he asked Lawton to chair the transition team for the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries when he was elected governor four years ago.
“I asked Jack to serve in that role because I know few others who are more important to fish and game conservation than he,” Jindal said. “Jack founded CCA 30 years ago here in Louisiana and recruited tens of thousands across this state to stand tall for good stewardship of our natural resources. As chairman of the Center for Coastal Conservation, he is bringing common-sense conservation policy to our federal decision-makers in Washington. Thank you Jack for all that you do.”
Lawton is president and CEO of Jack Lawton Companies, which is involved in real estate development, property leasing and oil and gas production. A former LSU football player under coaching legend Charlie McClendon, Lawton is a board member of the Charlie McClendon Foundation. The foundation funds scholarships for the children of former football players under the long-time LSU coach. He lives in his hometown of Sulphur, La., with Holly, his wife of 35 years. They have four children and four grandchildren.