to Randy, read into the Congressional Record
TRIBUTE TO RANDY FRY (1954-2004)
HON. JIM SAXTON
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
SAXTON. Mr. Speaker, the recreational fishing community
is mourning the loss of a dear friend, Randy Fry of Auburn,
who died while free diving for abalone off the Mendocino
coast as a result of an attack by a great white shark on
August 15th. He had
often said that if he had to go, he wanted to go in the
the international media has focused on the awful details
of this tragedy, his friends and fellow members of the Recreational
Alliance (RFA) choose to remember him for his tireless dedication
to the interests of West Coast fisheries and recreational
and divers everywhere. At the time of his death, he was
working full-time as the West Coast Regional Director of
Fry grew up in the Fresno area and his dad, now deceased,
was an insurance salesman. His mother, Velora, lives in
He leaves a brother and two sisters, an exwife, a grown
son and Natalie, his girlfriend he wanted to marry.
became involved in fisheries management issues when he became
concerned about the diminished stocks of rockfish
(sebastes) and other nearshore groundfish that are so important
to recreational fishermen in California.
took the bull by the horns and started getting people organized
to fight recreational fishing closures. He seemed to know
everybody, and if he didn1t know them personally, he was
buddies with someone who did.
was a former SCUBA diving instructor who led diving charters
in the Philippines, and he became an avid free-diving spearfisherman
who competed in club competitions. He was active in the
NorCal Skindivers Club and the Central California Association
of Dive Clubs (CENCAL).
had the perfect personality for this work: he liked people,
he was passionate about the ocean and he loved to talk fish
was also always willing to make the sacrifices necessary
to get the job done. He was truly one of a kind.
2003, Fry was appointed to a fishery management panel on
groundfish, which included important species to the recreational
nearshore fishery. Randy was also instrumental in building
support for the appointment of Darrell Ticehurst, a private
recreational angler, to the Pacific Fisheries Management
Council (PFMC)-one of the eight regional fishery management
councils. He was a champion for reasonable public access
to public resources and fair and equitable regulation of
went to bat for sportfishermen at scores of meetings of
government agencies. Some of the issues Randy worked on
include: Building support for the ''Freedom to Fish Act11
to prevent the implementation of arbitrary no-fishing zones".
bird-dogged the California Department of Fish & Game
over the use of license fees and fishing tackle excise tax
revenue, making sure it was used in the best interests of
fishermen. He worked to introduce a bill to make commercial-
scale abalone poaching a felony in California.
sheltered low-impact fishing opportunities, like bank angling
and spearfishing, from seasonal closures designed to protect
worked to make "reasonable and satisfying" recreational
fishing seasons a priority in California management decisions.
toward improving recreational catch data systems, to replace
the failures of the past.
to keep the National Marine Sanctuaries out of fishing regulations.
a personal level, Randy was a fun guy to be around. He was
a storyteller and a jokester. He loved to fish for salmon,
dive with a
spear gun or go bird hunting. He was a realist, and one
of his favorite phrases when he had to deliver bad news
about next year1s fishing regulations was, "I'm just
tellin' ya how the cow eats the cabbage." He was an
excellent public speaker who wasn1t afraid to criticize
the California Fish & Game Commission when necessary,
but he always tried to turn his opponents into friends.
He didn't have a mean bone in his body.