Gazebo Gazette

Officials with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) announced today that beginning Saturday, May 1, 2021, all waters south of the Intracoastal Waterway and west of the Gulfport Ship Channel in Mississippi territorial waters are closed to shrimping.

The closure takes effect at 12:01 a.m.

Mississippi territorial waters south of the ICW and east of the Gulfport Ship Channel in Mississippi territorial waters will remain open to shrimping as provided by law and the regulations of the Commission on Marine Resources.

All rules set forth in regulations of the MDMR are to be in full force and effect and all boats engaged in catching or transporting shrimp in or from the waters of the State of Mississippi must be legally licensed.

Additionally, MDMR is seeking public comments from stakeholders on the draft document, “Oyster Management and Recovery Strategic Plan.” The document can be viewed, and public comments submitted, at dmr.ms.gov/oyster-plan. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on May 31, 2021.

Over the past decade, Mississippi’s oyster resource has seen a substantial decline largely due to several natural and man-made disasters.

The Oyster Management and Recovery Strategic Plan summarizes projects proposed by the MDMR Office of Marine Fisheries Shellfish Bureau and identifies how each project will benefit the resource or environment. Projects are separated into three categories: active projects, future funded projects and future unfunded projects.

The MDMR Shellfish Bureau is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving the oyster resources of the Mississippi Sound. MDMR has many goals and objectives, which include, working to increase harvestable oyster resources on public reefs and improving resiliency and adaptive management techniques to allow stakeholders and the resource to better withstand environmental and man-made stressors.

The agency also strives to improve water quality monitoring throughout the Mississippi Sound to recognize the quickly changing environmental conditions affecting the oyster fishery and enhancing participation for on-bottom and off-bottom private-sector oyster production and harvest.

All comments may be submitted by email to oyster@dmr.ms.gov or online at dmr.ms.gov/oyster-plan. Comments must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on May 31, 2021.

For more information, call the MDMR at 228-374-5000 or the Mississippi Shrimp Information Hotline at 866-938-7295.