Maryland Sport Fishing Achievement Awards presented for 2022

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The Maryland Sport Fishing Advisory Board and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are proud to announce that Captain Bruno M. Vasta and the late James W. “Jim” Gracie are each the recipients of the Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Awards for 2022.

The Maryland Sport Fishing Achievement Award was established by the commission to honor individuals who have made sustained efforts in habitat management, conservation, education, research, or other significant contributions that benefit recreational fishing in Maryland.

Captain Bruno Vasta

Vasta, an accomplished federal public servant, has held various positions with the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association, including as state president and president of the Southern Maryland Chapter. He also represented Maryland as a Governor-appointed member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Throughout Vasta’s various professional and volunteer positions, he has advocated for stronger laws to protect native fish species and strengthen the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Vasta led the charge in creating an artificial reef off Solomon Island and developed long-lasting partnerships with local governments to establish a fishing and water education program.

“After decades of work for fish and recreational anglers, Captain Bruno is known and respected for all he has done for Chesapeake Bay fishing,” said Dr. Jerry Gaff, former president of the south. of Maryland from the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association. “Like star artists who only need their first names – Cher, Madonna and Prince – ‘Captain Bruno’ is a household name superstar throughout the Chesapeake Bay.”

The commission also recognized Baltimore native Jim Gracie for his lifelong support of trout fishing and his advocacy of water quality and restoration. Gracie, a chemist by trade, used his expertise with federal and state agencies to advocate for the restoration of waterways and he was considered an expert on the Clean Water Act.

Jim Grace

Jim was a founding member of the Maryland chapter of Trout Unlimited and also served two terms as chairman of the national organization’s board of directors. In addition to Gracie’s environmental policy work, he also pioneered Baltimore’s City Catch program, teaching Baltimore youth about fishing and aquatic education. Finally, Jim was one of the most senior members of the commission appointed by the governor and had served as its chairman. Gracie died in 2020.

“Jim never rested on his accomplishments,” said Board member Jason “JP” Andrick. “‘Grit’ is a good word to describe it.”

Gracie and Vasta will be honored at a presentation later this year.

The committee will start accept applications December 1, 2022, for the 2023 price, with a deadline of January 31, 2023.


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