Guest Post: Regulatory changes at Mississippi DMR not good for the fisheries or the little people

The DMR has been in the news lately concerning the tendency for connected, influential people to get special treatment or special opportunities. After extensive federal and state investigations there have been turnovers of some personnel and the promise that things would change for the better.

The recent rule changes that the Commission on Marine Resources and that the DMR staff have worked on lately to put more fish in the hands of fewer people, suggest that the DMR is still looking to make marine resources more available to some and to make the resource less available to unconnected, “little” people.

Increasing the speckled trout quota so that more speckled trout are funneled into the sea food markets which are better-connected and more influential than the “little” people who go out on public piers to try to catch something or go out in boats on weekends is funneling the resource into fewer hands.

Changing the hook and line license so that those who can’t or won’t produce at least 10% of their income off the sale of fish is cutting out those struggling to live on retirements and who appreciated supplementing their income by 5% or even 9%. Leaving the hook and line rule so that anyone who is determined enough, skilled enough or desperate enough to catch hundreds of pounds of speckled trout, for example, in a single day while others are limited to 15 per person or in the case of redfish 3 per person, is seeing to it that those more favored individuals get a bigger piece of the pie than the average “little” person. If the DMR had changed, they would have fixed the bad rule that said recreational people have daily limits while the hook and line license holder can catch the entire yearly allotment of a species in a single day if a rod and reel had that capability.

And, now, the DMR has decided that those who want to gill net don’t have to have a biodegradable gill net anymore, but can put 14” square panels of untreated nylon—a very destructive and effective material for killing sea life—on each side of their cotton nets to make gill nets into trammel nets. These nets make the seven or so individuals holding current gill net licenses better able to catch a lot of fish than all the many recreational fishers using their hook and line. That seems to be a goal of DMR, give more access to few and limit all the others. Again, it sounds familiar.

And, the commission has voted to increase the quota on redfish from 35,000 lbs to 50,000 lbs because their data shows that “little” people fishing with rods and reels and limited to three fish per day per person of a certain size have managed to catch as many as 1 million pounds of redfish in 2012 while the struggling haul seiners, gill netters, seven-day-a-week hook and line fishers only caught 35,000 with no limit on how many redfish they could bring in per day except for the 18” minimum and 30” maximum length. Those tourists on those public piers sure know how to reel them in. Probably we should arrange for the Michigan or New Jersey or Tennessee tourist to meet with our hook and line commercial fishers and teach them how to fish better.

Steve Shepard
Mississippi Sierra Club
P.O. Box 1295
Gautier, MS 39553

4 thoughts on “Guest Post: Regulatory changes at Mississippi DMR not good for the fisheries or the little people”

  1. I am not sure who initially crafted this regulatory change but I would place my chips on a bet that Richard “Fish the Gulf Dry” Gollott was probably all up in this shit somehow or someway. He was the leader of the pack a few years back when the speckled trout size limit was dropped to 13 inches.

    From what I have also been told, he is often found flapping his lips and complaining during commission meetings when oyster reefs are shut down due to contamination.

    Yes, that’s right folks, Gollott complains because he cannot assist with serving up oysters on the half shell that are tainted with waste that is not suitable for human consumption. This guy is brilliant.

    1. Don’t forget that big ol’ ice machine sent down to supply our poor fishermen and shrimpers with ice guess where it went right on top of Richard gollotts factory!!!!

  2. If any of you readers have any doubt of WHO is running the SHOW at DMR, just attend one of their biased meetings. It is ALL to keep the CMR in the black and make them richer. And to allow one person or even 12 people rights to use certain types of netting is DISCRIMINATION. ALL people should have a fair shake at catching fish, oysters, shrimp and crabs and not be limited to a few. But does DMR care? Hell no! As long as Miller does what Barbour & Bryant tells him, all is well and good at DMR. Are they opening the door for a lawsuit? Sun Herald, let us know!

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