IN RECOGNITION OF ROGER THOMAS; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 114
(Extensions of Remarks - July 06, 2017)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E943]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                           HON. JACKIE SPEIER

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, July 6, 2017

  Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Speaker, I rise along with my colleagues, 
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Jared Huffman and Congressman 
Mike Thompson, to recognize Roger Thomas, Captain of the Salty Lady, 
member of the California Outdoor Hall of Fame, and lifelong advocate to 
keep west coast salmon fisheries alive and sustainable. Many in this 
chamber, the California Legislature and multiple agencies have worked 
with Roger for decades and are proud to call this honorable and 
remarkable man a friend, mentor and colleague. He is one of the most 
decent and hard-working human beings one can know.
  Roger's passion for fishing started as a child. Born in Gilroy, 
California, he started fishing at an early age for striped bass from 
the beaches along Monterey Bay and later for salmon from a small boat 
launched at the Monterey Pier. He was hooked on salmon fishing and 
became a regular customer on charter boats out of San Francisco. Before 
too long, one of the captains offered Roger a job as a deck hand and, 
as they say, the rest is history. Roger received his captain's license 
in 1968.
  While working full-time for the County of Santa Clara on housing 
issues, he ran charter boats on weekends. At one point he had acquired 
a fleet of five boats that were run by several captains. In 1981, he 
retired from his government job and dedicated all of his time and 
energy to fisheries and ocean conservation. There hasn't been a salmon 
related association or council that Roger hasn't served on.
  Since 1973, he has been the President of the Golden Gate Fishermen's 
Association which represents charter boats from Fort Bragg to Monterey 
and carries some 200,000 anglers each year. He is also the Chairman of 
the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Salmon Association which 
represents commercial and recreational fishermen and works on 
protecting salmon habitat. For 14 years, he has served on the Pacific 
Fisheries Management Council which, among other duties, sets the ocean 
salmon seasons. Roger is a member of the Bay Delta Advisory board, the 
Winter Run-Captive Broodstock Committee, the Central Valley Fisheries 
Coalition, the Marine Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Commerce, 
the Coastal Resources Foundation, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries 
Commission, the National Sea Grant Review Panel and the Marine 
Resources Committee.
  Roger runs his charters on the Salty Lady out of Sausalito and Half 
Moon Bay. He proudly calls himself a salmon charter operation, but 
additionally runs whale watching and nature trips and has introduced 
thousands of children and adults to the magic of marine life. He has 
spent more than 10,000 days on the ocean and you will be hard-pressed 
to find someone with deeper knowledge and appreciation for that 
ecosystem. He also has the gift of storytelling and a mind that 
remembers every detail, including one of his most vivid ones from his 
childhood. He saw the last of the San Joaquin Spring run chinook salmon 
before they went extinct. His uncle took him to Friant Dam right after 
it was constructed. The salmon were stuck at the end of the line 
imposed to divert water to fields in the San Joaquin valley. They were 
``big fish,'' Roger says stretching out his arms, ``just big fish.''
  Roger is a familiar face in Congress where he has represented the 
interests of the charter boat fleet and the health of west coast salmon 
stocks for decades. In the 1980s, he was appointed by then Vice 
President George Bush to the National Sea Grant Review Panel. In this 
role he traveled to ports around the country and helped decide which 
projects were worthy and would be funded.
  Roger was instrumental in former Representative George Miller's 1992 
Central Valley Improvement Act and its eventual passage. The CVP is a 
key law to stop environmental harm to salmon and the Bay Delta. When 
salmon populations collapsed in 2008 and 2009, Roger worked closely 
with Representative Mike Thompson to provide disaster relief to salmon 
  Roger Thomas' tireless work has earned him the respect and adoration 
of countless people. With his recent tragic diagnosis of late stage 
cancer, it is our intention through these extended remarks in the 
Congressional Record to express our appreciation for his outstanding 
work and lasting contributions.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask the Members of the House of Representatives to 
join us in celebrating the life of Roger Thomas who loves fish, loves 
the ocean, and above all loves people. He has touched many hearts, 
protected many livelihoods and has earned the admiration of coastal 
communities up and down the western seaboard.