Gazebo Gazette

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced Wednesday that Joe Spraggins will continue to lead the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR).

Serving as Executive Director of MDMR since 2017, Spraggins will continue upholding the agency’s mission to enhance, protect and conserve the state’s marine interests.

“Director Spraggins served for decades in our armed forces, and earned all the respect we have to give,” said Gov. Reeves. “He’s been a steady hand on the wheel for the Department of Marine Resources–and his experience with the agency is unmatched. He knows what it takes to protect our coast, our wetlands, our marine life and everything else he has been tasked to conserve and utilize. He knows what it means to serve the people.”

“It is an extreme honor and a privilege to continue serving Mississippi as Executive Director of the state’s Department of Marine Resources,” said Spraggins. “I look forward to working with Governor Reeves, other branches of government and state agencies to enhance, protect and conserve our marine resources in Mississippi.”

Spraggins served as MDMR’s Chief Operations Officer beginning in 2013. Prior to joining the state agency, he served as Harrison County’s director of emergency management, homeland security and the E-911 Commission, which he started just days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005.

During his recent executive director report for the DMR agency at the MACMR meeting Tuesday morning, Spraggins confirmed that Jason Rider was promoted to Biological Coordinator of Shellfish Bureau and $348,220 was given to study Pelican Key.

Recently, 13 positive COVID19 cases. “Even though there currently has been no mask mandate, the Governor has stressed hard that we all wear masks,” said General Spraggins. “The Great Red Snapper Count has been completed and I think it is going to work in our favor. There is more red snapper out there than they thought there was but the final report has not yet been released to the public.”

Additionally, Spraggins expressed ”The CARES Act funds for fishery participants have been approved by NOAA. We are working diligently to get that out. We should send that out for application with the next few weeks” and “The 2019 Bonnet Carre Spillway fisheries disaster spending plan has been approved by the Governor. We will now send the spending plan to NOAA for them to review and approve.”

Due to statutory changes in the Commission’s authority, MDMR Counsel Sandy Chesnut reminded the Commissioner’s that Director Spraggins now has full decision-making authority due to legislation implemented by Representatives Timmy Ladner, and Senators Phillip Moran and Mike Thompson during the 2020 legislative session.

The Commission is now referred to as the Mississippi Advisory Commission on Marine Resources (“MACMR”) and can only advise the Executive Director on matters pertaining to MDMR. A list of recent executive decisions were read aloud into the record by Counsel Chesnut.

The MACMR considered and approved a motion to recommend the approval of a wetlands permit by Pass Christian resident Peter Trapolini to construct a 56’ long jetty in the waters adjacent to his residential property located at 419 1st Ave, Pass Christian, MS.

MDMR CFO Leslie Brewer presented a fiscal report for the MDMR showing that the agency net revenue for FY2021 is $4,008,862. New state fishing records were recommended by the MACMR.