Tag Archives: Mississippi Department of Marine Resources

Imported seafood is killing a MS Coast industry. Could truth in restaurant menus help? 

The last of the fishermen whose boats once dotted the Mississippi Coast’s warm waters are worried. Their customers are leaving. Their sales are down. “I don’t see a future,” said Bethany Fayard, a fourth-generation processor and distributor who is fighting to withstand the pressure and sell to customers, same as always. “The industry is on life support.” The problem, fishermen and processors say, is this: foreign imports have won. There is one thing, fishermen say, that might help them hold their own in the David and Goliath battle against importing giants like India and Indonesia: Mississippi’s government could force restaurants to tell customers the truth. more. Video, photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:49

BP Oil Spill: Where does the coast stand 14 years later?

Saturday marks 14 years since the Mississippi Gulf Coast was changed forever. On April 20, 2010, the Gulf of Mexico saw the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. The catastrophe killed 11 workers, sent over 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and washed onto the shores of the Gulf Coast. The spill continued for the next four weeks and two days, causing lasting environmental and economic impacts. “A lot of the grasslands and the marsh and all had a lot of devastation there because the oil get in and it would kill the grasses and also kill what was in the grasses,” explained Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:17

Mississippi Launches Commercial Vessel Safety Program to Protect Fishermen

Tomorrow marks the dawn of a safer and more secure future for Mississippi’s commercial fishermen. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is set to launch its Commercial Vessel Safety Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to promote safety and compliance with regulations in the industry. The program, which falls under the purview of the 2019 Mississippi Bonnet Carré Fisheries Disaster Recovery Program, is specifically tailored to the needs of commercial fishermen who were licensed in the state in 2019. The MDMR’s Commercial Vessel Safety Program stands as a beacon of hope for Mississippi’s commercial fishermen, offering vital resources to help them operate their vessels safely and legally. The program covers the installation of additional safety equipment on their vessels, ensuring the protection of both fishermen and their crew. more, >>click to read<< 18:03

Shrimp season in Mississippi to open on May 22

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) has set the opening date for the 2023-2024 shrimp season in state territorial waters for Monday, May 22 at 6 a.m. All regulations of the MDMR will be in full force and effect, and all boats engaged in catching and transporting shrimp from Mississippi waters must be licensed or permitted by the agency before beginning operations. Staff will continue to sample prior to the opening date. The shrimp season opening date may be postponed if sampling indicates movement of large numbers of juvenile brown shrimp into this area. >click to read< 13:04

In Depth: Mississippi Has Invested Millions of Dollars to Save Its Oysters. They’re Disappearing Anyway.

By 2015, it was clear that Mississippi oysters were in crisis. Then-Gov. Phil Bryant convened an oyster council to come up with solutions. “This is the soybean of the sea,” Bryant said at a community gathering in 2015 at which he unveiled the council’s report. “We’re going to make sure everyone enjoys it.” The council set a goal of producing 1 million sacks of oysters a year by 2025. But almost a decade later, that goal is nowhere in sight: In a region that helped pioneer the oyster industry, only 457 sacks were harvested in 2022, none of them from the public reefs that the state had worked to restore. “They’re just wasting money,” said Keath Ladner, a former oyster fisherman whose family was in the seafood business for three generations. “And the fishermen know this.” Video, Photos, >click to read< 09:37

Mississippi’s Coast shrimpers cling to legacy through the industry’s choppy waters

Danny Ross, an Ocean Springs shrimper, has been on a boat for as long as he could walk. He remembers driving the family vessel as a kid, having to climb onto the dashboard to see over the steering wheel. “Two spokes to the left,” his dad would direct. He remembers, back on land, getting bad grades in art class because he would only draw one thing. “I’d draw a pretty good boat too,” he said. “Me and my brothers were always on the boat. The rigging, the pipes – that was our jungle gym. And our swimming pool? The boat would be shrimping and we’d be diving off the bow, catching ropes on the outrivers.” Ross, 55, recently tied up his boat after a disappointing season that saw fresh water kill 56 percent of Mississippi’s shrimp. The plummeting price of shrimp has made it difficult for Ross to find crew members, and instead he’s gone to work on another captain’s boat. After following five generations of fishermen into the business, he’s worried about the direction the industry is headed in. photos, >click to read<. This is a two part series, >click to read Part 1< , with photo gallery 08:09

Coast leaders file federal lawsuit to change procedures for future spillway openings

In the spring and summer of 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission opened the Bonnet Carré spillway element of the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project, releasing copious amounts of freshwater through the Lake Pontchartrain Basin and into the Mississippi Sound, wreaking havoc on the natural resources, communities and businesses on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.,,, “The members of Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United want to be recorded in history as having fought to defend the environment and marine life in our Mississippi Sound,” said Ryan Radley, a fifth-generation fisherman and executive director of Mississippi Coast Fisheries United. >click to read< 07:46

Gulf Coast leaders form coalition to protect Mississippi Sound after devastating spillway openings

The marine life in the Mississippi Sound endured a tumultuous spring and summer this year due to freshwater from the Mississippi River flowing in at an unprecedented rate. Freshwater entered the Sound through the Bonnet Carré Spillway, a structure in Louisiana that releases water from the Mississippi River to prevent flooding in New Orleans. Never before had the spillway been opened in consecutive years, nor twice in one year; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the gates, broke both those records this year after a historic wet season across the river’s basin. >click to read< 11:38

Commercially Caught Wild American Shrimp From Gulf of Mexico Remain Safe to Eat

For the commercial wild-caught shrimp industry in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s business as usual. In spite of reports coming out of the Gulf of Mexico about a freshwater influx due to flooding in the Midwest, along with some resulting, close-to-shore algae blooms, commercial shrimp processors are reporting that this year, though volumes are lower, shrimp quality and size are good as ever. “The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is continuing to test water and fish samples to ensure seafood safety in Mississippi waters,” >click to read<  09:54

It’s business as usual! Commercially Caught Wild American Shrimp From Gulf of Mexico Remain Safe to Eat

For the commercial wild-caught shrimp industry in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s business as usual. In spite of reports coming out of the Gulf of Mexico about a freshwater influx due to flooding in the Midwest, along with some resulting, close-to-shore algae blooms, commercial shrimp processors are reporting that this year, though volumes are lower, shrimp quality and size are good as ever. “The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is continuing to test water and fish samples to ensure seafood safety in Mississippi waters,” said MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins. >click to read< 08:41

Mississippi Shrimp season gets underway with more than 250 boats lowering nets

Over 250 shrimp boats scoured the Mississippi Sound early Wednesday morning as the 2018 shrimp season officially got underway. Mississippi Department of Marine Resources officials conducted an aerial survey and found 254 boats lowering their nets in search of their first catch of the season. “We talked to the fishermen and early reports show moderate-to-low numbers of 40-50 count brown shrimp,”  >click to read<14:30

Mississippi says commercial speckled trout catch underreported, ends season

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins announced Tuesday that the second half of the state’s commercial fishing season for speckled trout, a much-sought species along the Gulf Coast, won’t happen. That’s because officials believe commercial fishermen didn’t fully report their catches from the first half of the season. Spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said the closure doesn’t affect recreational and charter fishermen, who must adhere to certain size limits for speckled trout. Normally, Mississippi has two seasons in state waters for the saltwater fish — one from Feb. 1 through May 31 and another running from June 1 to Oct. 31. >click to read<10:22

New Mississippi rule on oysters not based on science, Vietnamese group says in lawsuit

A lawsuit alleges the state’s ban on basket dredges for harvesting oysters was illegally based on “personal opinion and conjecture” and erodes the livelihood of Vietnamese American fishers. Thao Vu and the Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese-American Fisher Folks are suing the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources over a ban its Commission on Marine Resources recommended. The ban went in effect Sept. 1. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 16 in Harrison County Chancery Court in Biloxi, is appealing the ban. The DMR went against state seafood laws that say fishery management plans and conservation efforts must be based on “the best scientific information available,” according to the civil complaint. click here to read the story 10:27

MDMR officials oppose proposed changes to NOAA shark regulations

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources oppose proposals by NOAA Fisheries that would increase shark regulations for recreational and commercial fishermen. NOAA proposes recreational and commercial fishermen required to complete an online shark identification and fishing regulation training course and use circle hooks when fishing for or landing sharks. DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller recently sent a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Miller believes the NOAA’s plan would “place punitive regulations on shark species that assessments have indicated healthy stocks which impact both recreational and commercial sectors.” Read the rest here 10:35

Oyster reef now closed after reopening for first time in 54 years

cwl3cs7xyaegnra_1478778207963_6994443_ver1-0Officials with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources announced the Biloxi Bay oyster reef was closed for fishing beginning Wednesday (Nov. 9) due to excessive localized rainfall. The closure was announced for the V “A” area that includes Biloxi Bay and Shearwater reefs.  Biloxi Bay reopened for harvesting earlier this month for the first time in 54 years after water quality reached an acceptable standard to inspectors. On the first day of reopening, the Department of Marine Resources reported 46 boats, including five recreational and 31 commercial, pulled in 441 sacks of oysters. For more information, call the Oyster Hotline at (228) 374-5167 or 1-800-385-5902 link 09:06

Mississippi Sound – Day two of oyster relay moves more smoothly

Tuesday marks day two of the oyster relay program organized by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. Oyster fishermen are being paid to relocate thousands of oysters away from the harmful impact of freshwater intrusion caused by the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Near the mouth of Biloxi Back Bay, heavy equipment and high pressure water hoses helped offload a barge full of oysters onto an existing reef Tuesday morning. They are among the oysters relayed from the eastern portion of the Mississippi Sound. Read the article here 11:01

Fishermen hope to rescue oysters, as well as their livelihood

9669211_GCoast fishermen are preparing to make much-needed money in the face of disaster. Beginning at sunrise Monday, fisherman will begin to move oysters to safety away from surging fresh water into the Mississippi Sound. But, it won’t be easy, and the money likely won’t be enough to make up for a disastrous six-year struggle.The Oyster Recovery Program is allowing fishermen to move oysters from the St. Joe’s Reef south of Waveland out of harm’s way. Fresh water from the recently opened Bonnet Carre spillway is threatening their habitat. Video, Read the article here 09:34

Mississippi extends recreational Red Snapper season through October

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Jamie Miller announced Thursday morning that anglers will be allowed to harvest Red Snapper in state waters from July 16 through Oct. 31. The bag limit will be two Red Snapper per person with a minimum size of 16 inches. Anyone catching Red Snapper is required to report the catch to MDMR. Read the rest here 15:08

Small sizes temporarily closes shrimp seasons in Mississippi and Louisiana

louisiana shrimpThe Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is temporarily closing shrimping north of the Intracoastal Waterway in Mississippi waters at 6 a.m. on June 18. The closing will be in effect until MDMR sampling determines the shrimp count has reached the minimum legal size of 68 per pound. Yesterday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries made a similar announcement. Shrimp season in most inshore waters will temporarily close on June 19. Read the rest here 15:10

Feds find ‘substantial’ amount of pot in raid of Bay St. Louis seafood market

lonnie ray, lacey act violationsAgents with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office participated in a joint raid of Cowart Seafood in Bay St. Louis. DMR spokesperson Melissa Scallan said the agents executed a federal search warrant sometime between 8 and 9 a.m. Wednesday. She said Lonnie Mack Ray, 46, who is the owner of the business, of Bay St. Louis, is suspected of violating the Lacey Act, which pertains to interstate commerce involving fish, wildlife or plants. Read the rest here  08:29

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources opening more waters for shrimping on Monday

BILOXI, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources will open additional waters for shrimping on Monday, Sept. 29, according to a news release. Beginning at 6 a.m., all waters south and west of a line beginning at beacon “18” in the Biloxi Bay Channel and,, Read the rest here 21:12

Mississippi to start voluntary snapper reporting program – (It should be mandatory)

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources will start its voluntary red snapper reporting program for recreational fishermen on June 1. The purpose of the program is to allow agency officials to better track how many red snapper are being harvested and landed in Mississippi.  Read more here  15:13

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Meeting to discuss spending $10.9 million for damage to oyster and blue crab fisheries

Fishermen can comment at the meeting or mail comments no later than May 30 to: Department of Marine Resources, attn. Joe Jewell, 1141 Bayview Ave., Biloxi, MS 39530.  Read more here  10:16

Mississippi: Commercial fishing license renewal begins Tuesday

BILOXI, Miss.— The state will begin renewing commercial fishing licenses Tuesday and selling new commercial licenses starting April 15. Commercial fishermen who live in Mississippi can purchase licenses to catch shrimp, crab, fish, oysters and live bait, as well as business licenses for dealers and processors. The fees for Mississippi residents range from $10 to $500, and some fishermen require more than one license. Fees for out-of-state residents vary. Read more here  08:57

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources tackles proposed change in gill net regulations

The commission is considering allowing gill nets made of untreated nylon. Currently, only nets made of bio-degradable cotton or linen are legal in Mississippi.  “What we don’t want to see is a change to some non-biodegradable material that then encourages others to come back into the fishery,” added Johnny Marquez with the Coastal Conservation Association. Read [email protected]  09:08

Forum by JAMIE MILLER: It is my hope every penny of taxpayer funds misspent will be returned to the state

The truth is, the dedicated employees of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and I are working hard to put the troubled past behind us and move forward. I hope the following will only add clarity to the information the Sun Herald provided to its readers last Friday. more@sunherald    related story’s – Mississippi fires marine resources department director – Draft audit raises questions about spending at Marine Resources 07:44