Brad Parsons named state fisheries chief

Brad Parsons, a 31-year fisheries veteran and current central region fisheries manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has been selected as the new fisheries chief for the DNR. His new duties begin Wednesday, July 25. 

“Brad brings a breadth of valuable experience to this important job,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “His years working his way up as a researcher in the field and then serving as regional fisheries manager will help us manage the state’s fisheries in ways that positively serve citizens, natural resources and local economies.”

Parsons, a St. Paul Park resident, has been the DNR’s central region fisheries manager since 2010. In addition to managing the region’s eight fisheries offices, he has played a key role in management issues on Lake Mille Lacs, and the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. He also is the agency’s point person with the citizen-based Walleye Workgroup.

Parsons began his career at the DNR researching a range of topics including walleye populations, angler harvest and attitudes, wetland ecology and predator-prey interactions. As fisheries manager for the central region he was responsible for an area including Minnesota’s lake country, two major rivers, three major metropolitan areas and trout streams in the southeastern part of the state.

Parsons will oversee a $34 million annual fisheries section budget and a staff of 286 full-time and part-time employees. With personnel based in four regional offices, 29 area offices and 15 hatcheries, the fisheries section carries out research and management programs affecting state fish species and habitat.

Fishing is big business in Minnesota. Direct angler expenditures in Minnesota total $2.4 billion and support 35,000 jobs, according to a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey. About 28 percent of Minnesotans go fishing, double the national average.

Parsons is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and has an advanced degree in fisheries from the University of Wyoming. He is the author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and technical reports. He replaces Don Pereira, who retired on June 8.