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Your donations are needed to win the black sea bass lawsuit!

When the National Marine Fisheries Service exercised dubious emergency powers to shut down the black sea bass fishery last fall, anglers throughout the Mid Atlantic clamored for representation and an organization to champion their cause in federal court. The RFA stepped up to the plate, engaged two top attorneys, put together a strong legal argument and has been working to see it through to the end ever since.

The NMFS spent its time wasting your tax dollars in an effort to stall a ruling by the judge in hopes that we would run out of money and the will to see the fight through rather than address the legality of their actions. They thought that once the fishery was reopened the suit would just go away. They were wrong!

The lawsuit is not just about black sea bass. It is a challenge to the actions the fisheries service took when they closed a healthy fishery using data that they knew was not only questionable, but "fatally flawed." We knew it, you knew it, but the NMFS didn't care and four months into the closure a review of the data proved that it was flawed and the closure totally unnecessary! NMFS caused great economic hardship by banning recreational access to this important fishery at a time when there was little else to fish for. Anglers lost access to an important fishery for no logical reason whatsoever, but tackle stores, bait dealers, party and charter fishing boats, marinas and manufacturers of the products we use to fish were delivered a blow to their businesses at a time when they were already experiencing unprecedented problems with a downward spiraling economy.

RFA did not do this alone. Without the donations of anglers, fishing clubs and associations, and local businesses the suit would not have been possible. You dug into your pockets and helped bankroll the suit to the tune of $33,231.05 (as of June 30, 2010). The sorry part of the fundraising effort was only a handful of tackle manufacturers have provided any support for this effort, and no boat, motor or accessories companies donated. That really says something about the state of the recreational fishing industry.

It's the grassroots fishermen and the small retailers and service providers who care enough to make a difference.

The suit is coming to a head and the RFA Legal Defense Fund needs your help to see this through. The RFA legal team plans to carry this pill across the goal-line this summer, we need you on the team to help push it through the final stand!

RFA membership dues and contributions are used to cover the modest operational costs of the organization and the day to day lobbying efforts it undertakes on your behalf, but they do not cover the cost of litigation. That is why we are asking you to dig into your pockets again to help us with this landmark lawsuit. Help us show the preservationists and bureaucrats running NMFS that we will not sit by while they try to run us off the water for good. They might have a big bankroll, but that doesn't mean they are right or operating within the law!

Please, go to the RFA website now and click on the Legal Defense Fund icon on the home page and give whatever you can to this important effort. Tell your fishing buddies they need to get involved, too. You, the anglers who frequent online fishing communities and bulletin boards, were instrumental in helping us with the initial phase of this suit and we need you to get as fired up as you were before so we can win this litigation. You can see an updated list of contributors, including the tackle manufacturers and businesses who've supported the effort so far on the website. We hope we'll see your name on that growing list very soon!

While you are there, if you are not receiving RFA press releases and e-newsletters enter your email address. There is so much going on that can impact your ability to go fishing and we want you to be aware of just how engaged the RFA is in these pivotal issues.

Go to right now and help.

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