CCA Mourns Passing of Walter Fondren
Visionary conservationist helped change the way marine resources are managed
HOUSTON, TX – The conservation community lost one of its true visionaries with the passing of Coastal Conservation Association founder Walter W. Fondren III last week in Houston. A passionate conservationist, avid hunter and skilled fisherman, Fondren was a driving force in the grassroots movement to save red drum and speckled trout populations along the Texas coast in the late 1970s, and was one of the first to fully grasp the potential of anglers as stewards of marine resources with the creation of the Gulf Coast Conservation Association (now CCA).
“Walter was one of those unique individuals who saw the whole chessboard,” said Venable Proctor, chairman of CCA. “When he saw a problem with fisheries on the Texas coast, he helped build a national organization to safeguard those resources for generations to come. He grew up hunting and fishing, and fully understood that it is the responsibility of all who enjoy such privileges to leave things better than they found them. He lived his entire life by that principle and infused it into every aspect of CCA.”
“Walter was the right man at the right time to organize anglers to fight for conservation,” said Bob Hayes, CCA’s long-time general counsel. “He really helped shape the ethic of responsibility and stewardship in recreational angling at a time when everyone knew there were problems, but no one was sure how to attack them. Walter brought together a diverse group of individuals in a common cause, without a care for recognition as long as the job was done. We have lost one of the true leaders of saltwater angling, and a great friend, too.”
“He was a remarkable person, as comfortable meeting the President of the United States as he was sight-casting to redfish with his grandkids,” said Patrick Murray, president of CCA. “From every local chapter committee to the national board of directors, we will ensure that his remarkable legacy lives on.”