Mississippi’s short-lived and first red snapper season in state waters ended at midnight Sunday, but fishermen who utilized the weekend-only opportunity in July are still being urged to submit catch reports.
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources created the season for the territorial waters in June after the closing of the short nine-day federal season, and after a discussion of the season with resident anglers.
Mississippi was the last of the Northern Gulf States to create what is called a non-compliant season outside of federal dates. The non-compliant seasons in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, resident fishermen said, was cutting into the limits and the season length for Mississippi, since the catch for all seasons counted against the annual quota allowed for sport fishermen by federal officials.
DMR officials want to use the voluntary red snapper reporting program to provide accurate catch totals in the future, as the debate on the controversial snapper fishery management continues.
Anglers can report their catch on the MDMR website, www.dmr.ms.gov, or fill out an information card that is available at local bait shops. Those with iPhones can download a red snapper app on iTunes. A report should be filed for each trip that targets red snapper, even if no snapper were landed. Only one report is required for each trip, and captains are asked to answer the following questions: Vessel owner/captain’s name, vessel owner/captain’s email, vessel registration number, date of trip, number of anglers, duration of trip (hours), number of red snapper landed and public or private access (public or private marina or dock).
Catch cards can be filled out and mailed to Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Attn: Matt Hill, 1141 Bayview Ave., Biloxi, MS 39530. Comments or information may be emailed to email@example.com.
Amberjack season opens Friday
With the close of one season, however, comes an opening to another opportunity. The greater amberjack season reopens on Friday (Aug. 1). The limit is one per day per angler, with a minimum fork length of 30 inches.
Two records certified
The Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources (MCMR) certified two recreational saltwater conventional tackle records in July:
* Billy Bridgett of Ocean Springs caught a 2-pound, 4.2-ounce oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau) on June 6.
* Ryan C. Brushaber of Pascagoula caught a 1-pound, 9.3-ounce speckled hind (Epinephelus drummondhayi) on June 7.