Tribute 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

Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Speaker, the recreational fishing community is mourning the loss of a dear friend, Randy Fry of Auburn, California,
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 water.

While the international media has focused on the awful details of this tragedy, his friends and fellow members of the Recreational Fishing
Alliance (RFA) choose to remember him for his tireless dedication to the interests of West Coast fisheries and recreational anglers
and divers everywhere. At the time of his death, he was working full-time as the West Coast Regional Director of the RFA.

Randy Fry grew up in the Fresno area and his dad, now deceased, was an insurance salesman. His mother, Velora, lives in Auburn.
He leaves a brother and two sisters, an exwife, a grown son and Natalie, his girlfriend he wanted to marry.

He 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.

Randy 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.

He 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).

He had the perfect personality for this work: he liked people, he was passionate about the ocean and he loved to talk fish politics. He
was also always willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get the job done. He was truly one of a kind.

In 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 recreational fishermen.

Randy 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".

He 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.

Randy sheltered low-impact fishing opportunities, like bank angling and spearfishing, from seasonal closures designed to protect shelf
rockfish species.

He worked to make "reasonable and satisfying" recreational fishing seasons a priority in California management decisions.

Worked toward improving recreational catch data systems, to replace the failures of the past.

Worked to keep the National Marine Sanctuaries out of fishing regulations.

On 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.

 

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