Since this podcast was recorded last month, several changes have happened. But, the information is still good and it's important to remain vigilant.
Chris Macaluso, like many of our guests, is a born-and-bred Louisiana boy with a strong foundation in the outdoors. If you have been in the inshore fishing world for awhile, then chances are you are familiar with his father, an outdoors writer and broadcaster, Joe Macaluso.
Today, Chris is the Director of the Center for Marine Fisheries at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Say that three times fast!
In this podcast we talked a lot about fishing, but instead of fishing tactics and techniques we delved into fishing politics. Last year, Charlie Melancon was appointed by Governer John Bel Edwards to be Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Whatever good intentions the man may have had were quickly lost when he hired anti-sportsman Toby Gascon to help run the department. In a very short amount of time they ran the department into the ground. It started with red snapper management and went on to other things. I had Chris explain why the issue of red snapper management is such a big deal, when most people in Louisiana never get the opportunity to go. This is an important listen!
Charlie really dropped the ball when he axed the TAG Louisiana program, an extremely successful tagging program that runs on the efforts of volunteer citizen-scientists, and also the Louisiana Saltwater Series, which was a popular redfish tournament event that promoted conservation and recreational fishing, not to mention tagging hundreds of redfish each year.
Charlie also axed other important programs, like the acoustic telemetry program, that were key to understanding and building a knowledge base for fish movements in Lake Pontchartrain.
Now, it's key to understand that a few things have happened since we recorded at the beginning of December 2016. For starters, Charlie Melancon was fired from his position and his henchman, Toby, is gone with him as well.
Yes, we are still tagging fish! I went out and tagged 123 speckled trout later that month. Unfortunately, the Louisiana Saltwater Series is gone, but has been replaced by a non-profit that will carry on the torch of conservation and sportfishing promotion: Tito's Vodka Redfish Series.
So what are you waiting for? Listen in and get the low down from someone in the know, and keep on being vigilant in protecting our conservation efforts!