Ron Brooks, Fisheries Director
Ron Brooks, a distinguished instructor from one of the country’s top fisheries research universities, is the new fisheries director for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He replaces Benjy Kinman, who was recently confirmed as a deputy commissioner at the department.
A native of Farmington, Illinois, Brooks, 54, comes to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Brooks earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from the school.
“I’ve been researching fisheries for 22 years,” he said. “I have a lot to learn with this job. It is a challenge and that is what I look forward to.”
Brooks refined and successfully redeveloped a reliable technique to mark stocked fish with oxytetracycline, a type of antibiotic that leaves a discernable mark in fish without harming them. Oxytetracycline, also known as OTC, allows biologists to determine whether a fish was stocked. Researchers use this information to gauge the success of stocking programs.
Brooks also conducted studies on sturgeon migration in the Mississippi River, sauger reproductive success in the Illinois River as well as studies on largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and walleye.
The new fisheries director is excited about moving closer to the Cumberland River, where he can pursue his love of trout fishing. “I’ve fished the Cumberland several times,” he said. “I’ve also fished the White River in Arkansas - and the fish in the Cumberland run bigger.”
One of Brooks’ goals as director is conducting more research on stocked fish. “I would also like to increase our exposure and let the rest of the country know about the wonderful fisheries resources we have here in Kentucky,” he said.
Brooks wants to increase the amount of professional publications coming from the fisheries divisions. “Overall, I want to continue what Benjy Kinman’s done with this division,” Brooks said. “He’s done a fantastic job.”