In recognition of his remarkable leadership in marine resource conservation, the Coastal Conservation Association honored Bob Hayes with its Walter W. Fondren III Conservation Leadership Award during the organization's 2012 annual board meeting in Houston. Hayes serves as general counsel for both CCA and the American Sportfishing Association, and has been an outspoken advocate for the recreational angling community in almost every major marine resource conservation issue since 1985.
"Bob brings together two things that are in short supply in this world - vision and optimism. He has an amazing command of the politics of fish, and his ability to successfully navigate the world of marine fisheries at every level of government is unparalleled," said Patrick Murray, president of CCA. "Bob brings an irreplaceable blend of skills to this organization, and we simply would not be where we are without him. He is a leader for recreational angling, and a visionary conservationist."
Hayes is an alumnus of Boston University and received his law degree from Catholic University. After serving as a U.S. Army Infantry Lieutenant, he began his career in fisheries as an attorney for both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), serving as Deputy General Counsel for Fisheries
Hayes' vast international experience also started with his work in NMFS. During his time as director of the NMFS Office of Industry Services, he negotiated for the U.S. on bilateral fishery negotiations with Japan, Korea, Spain, France and Portugal. He went on to serve as a member of the U.S. delegation on the U.S. - Japan Subcabinet Committee on Trade, and was the White House-appointed Recreational Fisheries Commissioner for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). He was recognized by Outdoor Life magazine as the Conservationist of the Year in 2007.
"Bob has an incredible record of accomplishment in marine resource conservation that is matched only by his desire to deflect any acclaim for his victories onto others," said Venable Proctor, chairman of CCA National. "Many of mankind's greatest advancements can be traced to individuals who were in the right places at the right time with the right skills. That is certainly the case with Bob and CCA. There is no one more deserving of this award than Bob Hayes."
Past winners of the Walter W. Fondren III Conservation Leadership Award include Fred Miller and Alex Jernigan.