Virginia's fishing-awards program restored

The Virginia Awards Program is much more than what its name suggests.

The "tournament" awards highly and widely regarded citations (certificates or plaques) to anglers who catch or release fish from among 35 species that meet minimum length or weight requirements. The program certainly adds an incentive for anglers to visit Virginia for its outstanding opportunities.

Studies have shown these out-of-state fishermen adds millions of dollars to the state's economy.

Yet those economics weren't enough to keep Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell from proposing eliminating the program to save the state's budget the cost of administering it.

That proposal raised quite a ruckus, one that has had an impact: According to Lee Tolliver, writing in the Virginian-Pilot, funding for the event, now in its 55th year, has been restored.

That comes as good news for Virginia and for recreational fishermen, no matter where they live, who fish its waters.