Anti-fishing groups and radical environmental interests are pushing an agenda on marine fisheries issues affecting America’s saltwater anglers. At the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), we’re pushing back to protect your right to fish!
Incorporated in 1996 as a 501(c)(4) national, grassroots political action organization, RFA is in the trenches, lobbying, educating decision makers and ensuring that the interests of America’s coastal anglers are being heard loud and clear. Click here to learn more about what we’re up against, and why joining the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) is so important when it comes to protecting your right to fish.
As your watchdog, RFA understands what recreational fishing is worth to you – we were founded specifically to represent recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues on every coast, with state chapters established to spearhead the regional issues while building local support for the overall RFA mission:
“To safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of U.S. saltwater fisheries.
RFA was the first national, grassroots political action organization established to represent the rights of recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry as a whole on marine fisheries issues, and we remain the only one. Subscribe to our list in the right sidebar to receive free RFA email alerts and bulletins!
It is our stated, chartered mission to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation’s saltwater fisheries – that is our constitution, it is what we live by every single day on your behalf as a recreational fisherman – from a recreational perspective, it’s all about the fish, the fishermen and the fishing industry.
Sure, some groups talk a good game about your rights, but we’re the only group federally chartered to actually lobby for your interests in Washington DC and coastal capitals around the country – that’s why RFA is able to be first for anglers! Read more about RFA’s ongoing efforts on behalf of saltwater anglers by checking out our bimonthly newsletters along the right-hand side of this page.
You’ll find unique articles about fisheries management written by and about some of the most recognizable advocates in the recreational fishing community, including Gary Caputi, Barry Gibson, Tred Barta, Jim Donofrio, Jim Hutchinson, Jack Holmes, Tom Hilton and more.
- Go to our Contact Us section to learn more about getting engaged in an RFA coastal chapter in your area.
- Be sure to Join us for just $35 a year so that your voice is added to the growing army of active and engaged saltwater anglers hoping to see more common sense incorporated into our national fisheries debate.
- Shop for t-shirts, hats and bumper stickers so that you can show off your RFA membership with pride while contributing to our political action efforts from coast to coast.
- Click on Supporters to get a look at some of the local and national manufacturers and various organizations which annually pledge support to RFA (be sure to contact us to see your group listed!)
And no matter what else you decide right now, at the very least click on one of the images below and get immediately engaged in the fisheries management process, either by signing up for free RFA email alerts through ConstantContact, joining the ongoing discussion and debate at RFA’s Facebook page, or by signing in to the RFA Twitter feed for regular messages pertaining to your right to fish.
About Us – The RFA Mission
Safeguard the Rights of Saltwater Anglers
Protect the Marine, Boat & Tackle Industry Jobs
Ensure the Long-Term Sustainability of our Nation’s Fisheries
Anti-fishing groups and showroom environmentalists are pushing their agenda on marine fisheries issues affecting you. The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) is in the trenches too, battling back while lobbying decision makers to ensure that the interests of America’s coastal anglers are being heard loud and clear.
Incorporated in 1996 as a 501(c)(4) national, grassroots political action organization, RFA represents recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues on every coast, with state chapters established to spearhead the regional issues while building local support.
“The biggest challenge we face is the fight to reform and bring common sense and sound science into the fisheries management process, says James Donofrio, RFA founder and Executive Director. “As individuals, our concerns will simply not be heard; but as a united group, we can and do stand up to anyone who threatens the sport we enjoy so much – fishing!”
After more than seventeen years working inside the Beltway and within state capitols along the coast, RFA has become known as one of the nation’s most respected lobbying organizations, and our members have a lot to celebrate. Meet some of RFA’s supporters.
About Us & Our Accomplishments
- Led historic rallies in Washington DC (2010 & 2012) assembling well over 5,000 fishermen representing a united front between recreational and commercial fishermen in a call for federal overhaul of restrictive regulations.
- In response to arbitrary and capricious federal fisheries closures on both red snapper and black sea bass, opened federal litigation against NOAA Fisheries and the Secretary of Commerce calling for immediate federal action.
- Successfully spearheaded efforts to pass New Jersey legislation limiting the size and power of commercial vessels participating in menhaden harvest for bait, while limiting entry provisions for commercial owners looking to harvest menhaden.
- Testified numerous times before Congress on behalf of America’s saltwater anglers in opposition to catch shares and sector separation schemes, restrictive federal measures in the nation’s federal fisheries law, as well as against the bureucratically bungled National Ocean Policy perpetrated by radical preservationist groups.
- RFA Louisiana members led successful campaign to defeat restrictive ideological bill aimed at bowfish anglers in the Gulf Region.
- As the first/only organization to step up in vocal opposition to catch shares and ‘individual fishing quota’ schemes in the recreational community, RFA has influence many of the ‘early adopters’ away from this new management model.
- Led efforts to pass saltwater registry legislation in Maine and New Jersey designed to meet national angler registration requirements for saltwater fishermen, while keeping saltwater fishing a ‘free’ activity to the benefit of sportfishermen and the sportfishing community. Helped repeal saltwater fishing tax in New York.
- Spearheaded the effort to pass legislation to restrict menhaden harvesting by reduction vessels in the Long Island Sound, while shepherded legislation in New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island to actually ban the harvest of valuable inshore forage fish and eliminate menhaden harvest for reduction purposes inside state waters.
- Led national campaign to ban pelagic drift longlines as a gear type in all US waters and territories. RFA was called upon to testify at the House Resources Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Subcommittee hearing regarding the pros and cons of three different bills concerning this commercial fishing gear type, which ultimately resulted in a reduced and restricted fishing fle
- Successfully lobbied members of congress to include recognition of the recreational fishing industry under the definition of fishing community in the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
- Testified before the National Research Council (NRC) and House Resources Committee on the need to improve recreational data collection programs at the national level and helped lobby Congress to call for the comprehensive NRC review which ultimately led to congressional reform of MRFSS.
- Filed a 301 petition with US State Department demanding accountability for non-compliance by foreign commercial fishing fleets of international fishing treaties which the US is a contracting party.
- Successfully lobbied NMFS from issuing exempted fishing permits to pelagic drift longline vessels to set gear in closed areas off Eastern Florida and South Carolina.
- Requested a congressional hearing to investigate the high incidences of striped bass bycatch inherent with the sink gillnet fishery in federal waters.
- Successfully fought a proposed increase in the harvest limits of the commercial striped bass fishery in the Chesapeake Bay.
- Successfully lobbied to keep “game fish” designation for striped bass in New Jersey and subsequently killed the bill that would have changed the law.
- Successfully campaigned to keep federal waters (EEZ) closed to the harvest of striped bass to protect this vital fish stock from being subject to overharvest.
- Successfully lobbied to ban the use of destructive oceanic driftnet gear for swordfish in the Atlantic.
- Spearheaded a coalition that defeated NJS457, the glass eel bill, which would have allowed harvesting of elvers (glass eels) in New Jersey waters.
- Successfully formed a New England coalition and lobbied to ban pelagic pair trawling for HMS from all Atlantic waters.
- Successfully lobbied to protect recreational fishermen from state-imposed ground fish closures (codfish and haddock) in the Gulf of Maine.
- Only national group to stop a fleet of longline vessels from taking up port in Charleston Maritime Center and prevented them from destroying a scientifically recognized swordfish nursery off the South Carolina Coast (Battle of Charleston).
- First organization to recognize Sargassum to be a vitally important habitat and successfully lobbied to have Sargassum protected as essential fish habitat.
- Successfully fought to keep the Occulina Marine Preserve open to recreational fishing.
- Lobbied against the Callahan Amendment, an amendment that would have extended state waters in Alabama to 9 miles and provided a loophole that would permit the shrimp industry substantially more bycatch. The amendment was defeated.
- Lobbied to halt “Blanket Marine Reserves” from denying access to recreational fishermen in the Gulf waters.
- Filed suit against the NMFS for the unjustified restrictions and bag limits on recreational anglers who fish for Red Snapper.
- Co-plaintiff on a suit filed against the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the State of Texas over the closure of the “Nine-Mile Hole” to general boat traffic thereby restricting fishing access to recreational fishermen.
- Spearheaded the development of the Gulf Law Enforcement Task Force to reign in illegal red snapper harvest
- Requested a management plan for squid, an extremely valuable forage fish, in Californian waters.
- Working with groups in California to secure permanent funding and materials for current artificial reef programs.
- Fought for and is continuing to fight for equity in representation on the North Pacific Fishery Council. The first two recreational appointments were made after intensive RFA lobbying efforts.
- Spearheaded a lobbying campaign to ban destructive and inefficient oceanic gillnets from Pacific waters.
- Currently lobbying to protect the guided recreational halibut fishery from losing quota to commercial privatization.
- Lobbied successfully for a recreational nominee to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
- Fought for the rejection of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (NPFMC) inadequate allocation provided for guided sportfishing vessels in Alaska under the guideline harvest level (GHl) for halibut and the individual fishing quotas (IFQ’s).
- Worked with the California Striped Bass Association to extend the angling method regulations to account for the mortality occurring in ocean waters as well as inland waters.
- Successfully lobbied to secure continued Mitchell Act funding for pacific salmon hatcheries.
- Successfully lobbied US State Department and US Commerce Department to stop the International Pacific Halibut Commission from taking away the rights of the NPFMC to set season, size and bag limits in the Pacific Halibut guided sportfishery.
- Conducting cooperative research to help create a new recreational chilipepper rockfish fishery
- Supported and lobbied for HB 1706, an anti shark-finning bill that will protect Sharks from this wasteful fishing practice. The bill was passed and signed by President Bill Clinton.
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