The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association is a non-profit organization, created to provide a forum for recreational saltwater anglers;  to provide education to members concerning fishing techniques, improved catches, and overall enjoyment of fishing;  to foster sportsmanship;  to support marine conservation and sound management of fisheries resources;  and provide a unified voice to preserve and protect the rights, traditions and the future of recreational fishing in Rhode Island.

Established in 1997, the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association by-laws define our organization, and our membership subscribes to a code of ethics that guides our actions while fishing. As one of the largest saltwater fishing associations in the United States, our charter has now undergone nine revisions, and we remain confident that we will continue to evolve with our fisheries.

The organization is lead by a board of directors with six officers and six directors. We have a number of committees focused on specific initiatives or forms of fishing – the names of the groups and contact information is available below.

We maintain cooperative relationships with many fishing-oriented groups, and have an active list of suppliers in RI and the vicinity offering member discounts.

Board News

CMRC public comment letter

The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) has reviewed the Public Notice relative to CRMC File Number 2014-04-106. Although this application does not increase the size of the lease area,…
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Comment on offshore wind energy cables

To: Michelle Morin Chief, Environment Branch for Renewable Energy Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 45600 Woodland Road Sterling, VA 20166 Dear Ms. Morin: The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA)…
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Chase Marina RFI Response

The Chase Marina facility is located in what is commonly referred to as the Tiverton Basin close to the northern end of the Sakonnet River. The lower shores of the…
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Speed Restrictions

I write this on behalf of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA). We represent over 7500 recreational anglers, many of whom fish the state and federal waters of the…
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Mayflower Wind

The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) represents over 7500 saltwater anglers in southern New England. Many of our members fish in the Sakonnet River and its approaches. We write…
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Two Wins for RISAA

Boy have we had a good month!  First, against all odds, our tautog proposal was passed/recommended by the RI Marine Fisheries Council by a  4 – 2  vote and has…
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Executive Leadership

Greg Vespe

Executive Director

A ten year member or RISAA, Greg became the executive director of our organization during the fall of 2021.  Considered one of RI’s top anglers, Greg has presented seminars for RISAA and other local clubs as well as multiple presentations at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show.


Dawn Filliatreault Wood


Dawn has been a RISAA member for 14 years and is now serving her fourth year on the board and first year as the President. She serves as Chair of the Education Committee, Chair of the Membership/Welcome Committee and is a member of the Legislative, New England Saltwater Fishing Show and Saltwater License Plate Committees.  She has previously served on the Charter Trips Committee.  She has volunteered many hours at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show and Take a Kid Fishing Day as well as a number of other RISAA events.  

Capt. Richard Hittinger

1st Vice President

Rich is now in his 15th year as an officer. He is chairman of the RISAA Legislative and Artificial Reefs Committees. He also serves on the Political Action Committee and Youth Fishing Camp committee. Rich represents RISAA on several state fisheries and environmental groups. 

Fred DeFinis

2nd Vice President

Fred has been a RISAA member since 2020. He serves as Secretary of the Legislative Committee and is a member of the ad hoc Magazine Committee. He has also worked on the development of the AnglerCatch app and conducts surveys on behalf of the Club.

Susan Lema


A member for the past 17 years, Susan is serving her third term as RISAA Secretary. Susan is also a member of the Charter Trips and Legislative Committees. Considered a top angler, Susan has presented seminars at RISAA meetings and at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show.

Capt. Steve Skenyon


Steve has been a member of RISAA since 2018 and this is his first year as Treasurer.  He also serves on the Legislative Committee by monitoring the status of bills relevant to RISAA interests.  Steve is licensed CPA and also has his USCG 50 ton Captain’s license.

David Michel


David has been a RISAA member since 2008 and has served  on the Board of Directors as Sergeant-at Arms since 2019. David is the Chair of our Scholarship Committee, and is a member of the Education Committee and the Legislative Committee. David earned his USCG Captain’s license in 2020 after studying with RISAA member  Capt. Mike Littlefield at Narragansett Bay Marine Training. 


Karlis Kaugars

Board Member

Karlis was a freshwater fisherman until moving to RI and becoming addicted to the salt. He helps with the website and all things IT for RISAA

Robert Murray

Board Member

A RISAA Member for 17 years, this is Bob’s 9th term on the Board. He is the administrator of RISAA’s Tag & Release Program, and is an active member of the Legislative Committee.

Richard Reich

Board Member

Richard has been a member for 18 years. He previously served on the Board in 2017 and 2018. He is Vice Chair of the Surfcasters Committee and also serves on both the Legislative and Youth Fishing Camp Committees.

Kraig Ruth

Board Member

Kraig has been a RISAA member since 2007. He has been a member of the Kayak Committee since 2009 and has been the Kayak Committee Chairman since 2018. Kraig is a member of the Legislative Committee.

Ron Barnes

Board Member

Ron has been a member of RISAA for three years and is the current Chair of the Surfcaster’s Committee.  This year marks Ron’s first term on the board. 

RISAA Contacts

By-Laws CommitteeRobert Blasi, Chairblasi@risaa.org401-527-5157
Charities CommitteeRalph Orleck, Chairorleck@risaa.org401-323-0657
Charter Trips CommitteeHal Gibson, Chairgibson@risaa.org401-524-9035
Dealer Discount ProgramGilbert Bell, Coordinatorgil@risaa.org401-315-2529
Education Committee.Thomas Wood, Chairtomwood@risaa.org401-263-3909
Elections CommitteeGisele Golembeski, Chairgisele@risaa.org401-935-0827
Financial Review CommitteeRaymond Marchak, CPAfinance@risaa.org401-826-2121
Fly Fishing CommitteeJohn W. Edwards IIedwards@risaa.org650-773-4168
Foundation CommitteeMichael Warner, Chairwarner@risaa.org401-364-0027
Fund-Raising CommitteeLawrence Hill, Chairhill@risaa.org774-280-0155
Kayak CommitteeKraig Ruth, Chairruth@risaa.org.401-640-3679
Legislative CommitteeRichard Hittinger, Chairhittinber@risaa.org401-739-1875
  Artificial Reefs SubcommitteeRichard Hittinger, Chairhittinger@risaa.org401-739-1875
  Menhaden SubcommitteeDavid Monti, Chairmonti@risaa.org401-480-3444
  Public Access SubcommitteePeter Jenkins, Chairjenkins@risaa.org401-826-2121
Merchandise CommitteeGary Johnson, Chairgary@risaa.org401-787-5981
Political Action Committee.Greg Vespevespe@risaa.org401-662-5573
NewsletterGreg Vespevespe@risaa.org401-662-5573
Saltwater Fishing ShowBob Murraymurray@risaa.org401-378-5895
Scholarship CommitteeDavid Michel, Chairmichel@risaa.org401-952-8697
Surfcasters CommitteeRon Barnes, Chairbarnes@risaa.org508-058-6781
Tag & Release ProgramRobert Murray, Coordinatormurray@risaa.org401-378-5895
Tournaments CommitteeJohn Volpe, Chairvolpe@risaa.org401-580-1063
Welcome CommitteeDawn Filliatreault Wood, Chairwood@risaa.org401 263-3919