If the state of Louisiana were going to issue an MVB award — Most Valuable Biologist — Randy Pausina would win in a landslide. The tireless assistant secretary for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has overseen and directed a host of procedural changes that have vastly improved biological data collection at the state agency, and Louisiana’s anglers will reap the benefits for decades.
But earlier this month, Pausina agreed to tackle an issue that would have eluded Rickey Jackson in his prime, and there’s a high-percentage chance he may regret his decision.
For years, the states that rim the northern Gulf of Mexico — Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida — have decried federal management of the massive waterbody’s red-snapper population, and they have every right to be displeased. It’s not hyperbolic to say the fishery is a disaster.
Under federal management, the species so valuable to restaurants and private anglers’ dinner plates was grossly overfished, beginning about a half century ago.
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