by Hunter Dawkins

For the third consecutive month, a concern about prohibiting net fishing arose at the recent Commission of Marine Resources (CMR) meeting Tuesday morning.

14-year Commissioner Richard Gollott expressed to CMR about his recent conversations with a few members of the State Legislature.  “If we don’t put a ban on net fishing, they (State Legislature) are going to,” said Gollott.

The Commission ruled previously that no new nets can be introduced into the fishery until the gear task force defines which should be allowed.

After a few commercial fishermen addressed the CMR about their livelihood, Gollott withdrew his motion.  The gear task force was set in November to make an attempt to define appropriate fishing nets for Mississippi waters.

Following this action, an administrative penalty was upheld by the CMR despite petition from the Commercial Fisheries United, Inc.

Cat Island came before the commission again, as the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) Chief Scientific Officer Paul Mickle, Ph.D had put together a plan to begin the Seagrass Monitoring Program.  This program would begin on Cat Island with Dr. Mickle discussing fundraising options through disaster funds.

Once Dr. Mickle completed his proposal providing the costs, benefits, and and background, CMR unanimously passed this option.

Then, MDMR Finance Officer Shavay Gaines explained to the commission the monthly report, displaying the amount of $4.1 million in revenue for the agency and over 85% of operating funds.

Crab Trap removal was set for all Mississippi coastal waters on February 7-16, 2019.  Fishermen are allowed for trap removal from February 14-16.  Cleanup will be open to volunteers to the general public, as all licensed crab fishermen will be notified before.

The CMR unanimously approved a closed season for the use of crab trap in the public waters of Mississippi.

Finally, officials with the MDMR announced Wednesday that all waters north of the Intracoastal Waterway will close at 12:01am Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

This closure applies to Mississippi territorial waters.  All other waters will be open for shrimping.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources 2019 Marine Information Calendars are now available at different locations across the Coast.  The agency held a photo contest earlier this year, and those chosen are featured each month in the calendar.  These photos are shared on the photo pages of the calendar, too.

Calendars and supplies are available at bait shops across the Coast.