Mississippi Biologist Honored by Regional Peers

Tom Holman named 2018 SEAFWA Fisheries Biologist of the Year
The winner of the award poses, shaking hands with the SEAFWA president
SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes (left) and Fisheries Biologist of the Year Tom Holman of Mississippi.

The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) named Tom Holman the 2018 Fisheries Biologist of the Year at their annual meeting in Mobile this week. Holman has been a fisheries biologist for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) since 1988.

“Tom has provided unwavering leadership in fisheries research and management for Mississippi’s state agency for three decades,” SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes said. “His efforts and outstanding reputation are appreciated beyond the borders of the Magnolia State, and this award clearly demonstrates that.”

Holman’s career began with fisheries research in rivers and reservoirs. In 1991 he became the Central District biologist, responsible for managing sport fisheries in two large reservoirs, ten MDWFP-owned lakes and many miles of streams and rivers. In 2003 he began coordinating MDWFP’s hatcheries, boating access program and acquatic education program.

Today Holman is the Fisheries Bureau Sport Fish Restoration Coordinator, overseeing grant application, compliance and reporting processes for multiple bureau grants and university research grants. He coordinates 50-60 annual youth fishing events with the project leader.

“Tom has provided distinguished service to the agency, the public and the resource throughout his thirty-year career,” said MDWFP Executive Director Sam Polles.

Holman graduated from Auburn University with a master’s in fisheries management. He has been an active member of the American Fisheries Society for 30 years and served as president in 2010. He is developing an introductory fisheries management course for Alcorn State University, a historically black university in Mississippi.

The Association’s Biologist of the Year Awards are presented to two career biologists of state wildlife agencies, one each in the categories of wildlife and fisheries, who in the opinion of the SEAFWA Awards Committee have made outstanding contributions toward wildlife/fisheries conservation.

The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 15 states, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Andi Cooper