Gazebo Gazette

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is extending the NOAA Skimmer Trawl Turtle Excluder Device (TED) gear reimbursement program through July 31, 2022, where fishermen may be reimbursed for NOAA-approved TEDs installed on their commercial vessels.

The TED rule, which took effect Aug. 1, 2021, requires all shrimp skimmer trawl vessels 40 feet and greater in length to install and use TEDs designed to exclude small sea turtles in their nets.

The TED’s arc is designed to reduce the number of sea turtles captured in shrimp trawls by allowing turtles an opening to escape the net. The space between the deflector bars of the new TEDs must not exceed 3 inches, escape openings must be oriented at the top of the net and there are potential webbing restrictions on the escape opening flap depending on the type of TED grid and escape opening configuration.

The TED gear reimbursement program is funded as part of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Protected Species Task 6.

To be eligible for this program, fishermen must meet the following criteria (a separate online application must be submitted for each qualified vessel):

  • Must be a Mississippi resident.
  • Must have had a 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 and a current 2020-2021 Mississippi resident commercial shrimp license for a skimmer trawl vessel 40 feet and over (license type 52 or 53).
  • A maximum of two NOAA-approved TEDs and installation will be reimbursed per qualified licensed vessel not to exceed $700 ($350 per TED).
  • Must apply online via MDMR website at dmr.ms.gov/.
  • Must watch MDMR-NOAA Gear Monitoring Team video information on specifications for the skimmer TEDs.
  • Qualified shrimpers can register online and will be required to purchase the TEDs within 90 days of the date of submitting their online application in order to receive reimbursement from MDMR.
  • This program will end July 31, 2022.

All applications submitted before the deadline will be considered. No late applications will be considered and there will be no appeals if the deadline is missed.

For assistance submitting a reimbursement application, contact Mike Brainard with the MDMR at 228-374-5000 or email SkimmerTED@dmr.ms.gov.

For information on the NOAA Skimmer Trawl Turtle Excluder Device (TED) rule, visit www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/bycatch/turtle-excluder-device-regulations.

For technical assistance, contact the NOAA Gear Monitoring Team at (228) 762-4591 or email TED.info@noaa.gov.

MDMR has decided to reopen the recreational Red Snapper season earlier than previously announced. The season opened this weekend on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and close Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

The season will then reopen seven days a week beginning Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. with a projected close date of Sept. 6, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

This early reopening will provide Mississippi anglers increased opportunity to fish for Red Snapper, Greater Amberjack and Gray Triggerfish simultaneously.

Private recreational anglers can fish out to 200 nautical miles. Vessels with state for-hire permits can fish in state territorial waters, which is nine nautical miles south of the barrier islands.

The private recreational and state for-hire season will close if the Mississippi Red Snapper annual catch limit (ACL) is projected to be reached at any point after the season opens. It will also close if the Red Snapper Gulf-wide quota is reached.

One angler per vessel, per trip is required to report through the MDMR Tails n’ Scales system. Anglers are encouraged to report additional information for Greater Amberjack and Gray Triggerfish while Mississippi’s Red Snapper season is open. As a reminder, Marine Patrol officers encountering anglers harvesting or possessing Red Snapper without a trip authorization number will result in fish confiscation and fines.

 Anglers may register their account through a smartphone app available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or online at tailsnscales.org.

Returning users must download the newest Tails n’ Scales app update prior to obtaining any 2021 trip authorizations. Tails n’ Scales administrators can be contacted for assistance by email at snapper@dmr.ms.gov or by phone at (228) 325-1585.

Finally, MDMR said that Red Snapper season will reopen for private recreational anglers and state for-hire vessels at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, with a projected closure date of Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.