Recreational Fishing Alliance founder Jim Donofrio announced he will step down from the organization Dec. 31. He has served as executive director since founding RFA in 1996.
Donofrio, who is 72, is credited with creating the first IRS-recognized 501(c)(4) political action organization focused on the needs of saltwater anglers, the recreational fishing industry and marine resources. RFA said in a statement that his vision to provide the community with a political voice at the state and national levels was unique to the legislative and regulatory process governing how recreational fisheries and anglers are managed.
“No one has fought harder for the rights of the saltwater angler,” said Viking Yacht Co. president and CEO Pat Healey. “Jim has been an incredible asset for us, and the RFA wouldn’t be what it is today without him.”
Donofrio’s experience as a fishing captain gave him insight into how regulations impact coastal anglers, businesses owners, manufacturers and retailers. He went on to form working relationships with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, as well as with fishery managers and scientists.
“I am sad to see Jim Donofrio leave the RFA after many years of serving fishermen in the state of New Jersey and across the nation,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.). “He was a vital resource for our fishermen, and we had the good fortune to work on issues that beneficially impacted the state of New Jersey.”