‘Monster Fish’ host shares message of conservation

Hogan talks about role fish play in ecosystem

Zeb Hogan, host of National Geographic’s “Monster Fish,” guest lectured Tuesday to McNeese State University biology students ahead of his Banners Series presentation that night. 

As the host of “Monster Fish,” Hogan said he travels around the world studying the world’s largest fish, which are also some of the most endangered of their species.

He said these mega fish weigh hundreds of pounds and can be incredibly long. 

Hogan said most of the fish he studies are “right on the brink of extinction.” This is especially troubling news for delicate ecosystems because, as he explained to the class, “keeping large fish alive helps to preserve smaller fish populations.” 

He showcased videos and photos of his research, which centers around gathering appropriate data and information about the fish in order to increase conservation efforts. His field work includes catching, tagging and releasing the “monster fish” so they can be tracked in order to better understand their life cycle. 

He said Louisiana is home to the alligator gar fish, which is a mega fish that isn’t endangered. The gar can grow up to 200 pounds and can live for up to 80 years. 

Hogan attributed the species’ success to Louisiana’s plentiful wetland conditions, which make an ideal habitat for the fish to thrive in.

Hogan said his travels take him to remote parts of the world that do not have the same organized game regulations like Louisiana and other parts of the United States. Therefore, in addition to utilizing scientific measures and procedures, he relies on local knowledge from multiple generations of fisherman to help him understand the makeup and balance of various ecosystems.  

While working and studying with locals, Hogan said he is able to share the message of conservation with communities, but “while they are friendly and willing to help” it is difficult for ideas like catch and release to catch on in cultures where fishing is a primary source of income. 

Hogan said he hopes that shows like “Monster Fish” will allow his work to live on after him by spurring young people toward careers in worldwide wildlife research and conservation.

Hogan said one of the primary goals of his research is to get society thinking about mega fish, and the necessity of their survival, in the same way that they think about animals such as the giant panda, which has made it off of the endangered species list due to increased conservation efforts. He said it is important that humans learn to protect mega fish habitats and learn the role that the fish play within an ecosystem; otherwise, these animals can get out of hand or can become extinct all together.  

“Humans turn mega fish into monsters,” Hogan warned.

In addition to taking questions from the class, Hogan ended the lecture by giving the students personal guidance on how to continue their studies beyond the classroom. Many of the students said they assumed their studies would end with working for the Wildlife and Fisheries Department but Hogan said, “Don’t limit yourself. There’s so much out there.” 

Student Christina Keathley said her main take-away from the lecture was that.

“I never realized how many opportunities there are out there beyond the United States to study wildlife,” she said.

Hogan also gave the students in-depth advice on how to secure funding for field research from top-level entities such as National Geographic and the National Science Foundation, both of which help fund his Monster Fish Project.

Crime

Five accused of attempted ATM burglaries

Local News

I-10 bridge task force chair: Wednesday crash highlights need for new bridge

Local News

National Seat Check Saturday at Southwest Beverage

Crime

State Police investigating officer-involved fatal shooting of inmate

Crime

LC man arrested after shooting at neighbor’s home

State News

Coroner identifies man killed by alligator

Crime

Sulphur High student arrested after threat made

Crime

Sheriff: Escapee shot after firing at officers

Local News

Governor optimistic about federal hurricane aid for SW La.

Local News

Eastbound lane of I-10 bridge remains closed after fiery crash

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Finally, a feel-good movie

Business News

$21M rice mill should be complete by next harvest

Crime

Three more linked to Oakdale bar shooting

Local News

State confirms seventh pediatric death from COVID-19 in fourth surge

Local Business News

Jeff Davis hoping to join program designed to attract business

Local Business News

EMS Academy looking for ‘right people in right spots’

Local Business News

Four state amendments await voters Nov. 13

Local Business News

George Swift column: Recovery, rebuilding after storms

Local Business News

Names in the News: People making a difference in the Lake Area

Local News

Breaux has honed some serious culinary skills since his Crock-pot days

Local News

Cemetery Association asking for help with hurricane-damaged graves

Crime Brief

Fort Polk soldiers charged in DeRidder drive-by shooting

Crime Brief

Lake Arthur man loses hunting privileges

Local News

Higgins says he will vote against raising debt limit