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Rhode Island

Saltwater Fishing

Tribute to Steve Medeiros

Loss of a Fishing Legend

By John Lake, Supervising Marine Biologist, RI DEM Division of Marine Fisheries

The Rhode Island recreational fishing community lost one of the greats in 2021: Steve Medeiros. Steve was a husband and father, Navy veteran, retired West Warwick Police Sergeant, and professional photographer. He was also the President and Executive Director of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) of which he was a founding member.

RISAA is one of the largest charitable nonprofit recreational saltwater fishing advocacy groups in the country and encompasses many local fishing clubs throughout southern New England. The association provides a forum for saltwater anglers to provide education 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. Folks here at the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) knew Steve as a collaborative partner and tireless participant in the public process. The business of setting fishing rules and regulations can be contentious, tiresome, and complicated. That was no problem for Steve who always showed up to public meetings prepared and ready to advocate for the recreational angler. He had a great understanding of the process and was always ready to stand up and make sure recreational fishing interests were represented. His style was thoughtful, soft spoken, unassuming, respectful, and very effective. Steve had a lot of clout both with the fishing industry and the state and federal legislature, a guy you wanted in your corner. He and RISAA were key partners in the creation of the RI Saltwater Recreational Fishing License which is a key program for RI Marine Fisheries. His vision for how the funds generated from the license are spent is still in place today providing for new and improved fishing access points, better recreational fishing data collection, science and research, and of course education and outreach. Steve was passionate about educating both young and old anglers about all aspects of fishing. One of his missions was to have “fish and fishermen in abundance” which is clear in the many education programs which RISAA conducts from fishing techniques to marine conservation. Getting kids interested in fishing was paramount for Steve. RISAA has many programs aimed towards youth angling such as “Take a kid fishing day” and their youth angling tournaments. In 2016, RISAA and RI Division of Marine Fisheries partnered to create a 3-day annual youth fishing camp which has been a great success. The free camp educates kids on fishing techniques, safety, fish biology, fishing rules, and best practices. Steve always spearheaded this effort rallying many RISAA volunteers ensuring it went off without a hitch. A lasting memory of Steve for me will always be at the latest graduation ceremony for the camp. Steve was speaking to the kids and asked how many of them had caught a fish at the camp and they all cheered and vigorously raised their hands. I’m not sure who was smiling more, Steve or the kids. The State is developing plans for a memorial for Steve at the Black Point fishing access point in Narragansett. From all of us at the RIDEM, thank you Steve for all of your hard work and dedication to saltwater fishing and for being a great partner and friend.