BILOXI — Mississippi anglers will be allowed to harvest red snapper in state waters every weekend in July.
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources executive director Jamie Miller announced his decision yesterday afternoon after the Commission on Marine Resources voted 3-0 to give him the authority to open a season in state waters.
“I value the relationship we have with our federal partners,” Miller said, “but at the end of the day, our agency must do what is right for Mississippi anglers.”
The nine miles of Mississippi waters will be open for red snapper fishing on July 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27. The bag limit will be two red snapper per person with a minimum size of 16 inches.
The federal red snapper season lasted from June 1-9.
In 2012 the Mississippi Legislature approved extending state waters to nine miles for fisheries management, and the law went into effect July 1, 2013. However, fishermen are reminded that the federal government does not recognize this distance, and anyone possessing red snapper farther than three miles south of the barrier islands could receive citations from federal or state law enforcement officers. Fishing between three and nine miles in Mississippi waters is at the angler’s own risk.
Officials with the Department of Marine Resources are asking fishermen to participate in the agency’s voluntary red snapper reporting program during the July season. They can report their catch on the agency’s website, dmr.ms.gov, or fill out an information card that is available at local bait shops. Those with iPhones can download a red snapper app on iTunes.
The response to the voluntary reporting program during the June season was excellent, said Joe Jewell, director of the Office of Fisheries for MDMR, and he wants to see that same level of participation in July.
“The continued participation of our anglers in the voluntary red snapper reporting program will provide essential data to the DMR,” Jewell said, “which will allow informed and responsible decisions to be made in a timely manner to ensure the sustainability of Mississippi’s red snapper resource.”