Just five weeks after an announcement by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that the popular TAG Louisiana program would be ending, it appears the popular volunteer fish-tagging and reporting program isn’t dead yet.
In an interview with LouisianaSportsman.com Thursday afternoon, David Cresson, executive director with Coastal Conservation Association-Louisiana, encouraged volunteer taggers to “just keep doing what you’re doing.”
“I can tell you without hesitation the tagging program will continue in some capacity,” Cresson said. “The details of what that means are still being worked out, but it’s going to continue.”
Cresson said many questions remain moving forward — including the potential of LDWF’s participation in the program. When the program was axed by the department, word was it wasn’t providing useful information to biologists.
“We have secured corporate sponsorship to make up for the loss of funding, and one way or the other we will continue the program as close to what it was as possible,” Cresson said.
The program was discontinued by the LDWF last fall under then Sec. Charlie Melancon, who resigned from the Department under pressure on Dec. 31 after less than one year on the job.
Melancon’s tenure was marked by conflict with CCA and the recreational angling community over his opposition to state-run management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as his decision to kill the Louisiana Saltwater Series redfish tournaments, and the redfish and trout telemetry study in Lake Pontchartrain.
In the wake of Melancon’s resignation, former state Rep. Jack Montoucet was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to head the LDWF starting Tuesday, Jan. 16.
Cresson said he had a very positive meeting with Montoucet and several legislators Wednesday at the State Capitol.
"We had an excellent meeting. We were very encouraged by everything he had to say,” Cresson said. “He’s got a long history of being a friend to outdoorsmen through his legislative career, and we feel like that will carry over into his service at the department.”