A new wildlife and fisheries specialist — Wes Neal — has assumed responsibilities with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service to assist Mississippians with pond management issues on their property.

“We are pleased to have such a talented fisheries specialist on board after a three-year absence of a specialist in wild fisheries and pond management at MSU,” said Bruce Leopold, head of MSU’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Neal came to MSU from a similar position at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, where he spent five years doing Extension fisheries programming. He received his doctorate in zoology and a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences from North Carolina State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in forestry and wildlife from Virginia Tech.

“Mississippi has nearly 400,000 acres of ponds and small lakes that are often managed for fishing and other forms of recreation,” Neal said. “Good fishing from ponds depends on location, design and construction, proper stocking and focused management.”

A pond’s success depends on the landowner maintaining good fish populations. Neal said his role will be to support landowners, Extension personnel, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks biologists, and other stakeholders as they manage for success.