The state recreational fishing season for Red Snapper will close in Mississippi territorial waters on Sunday, July 8, at 11:59 p.m. and reopen Monday, July 23, at 12:01 a.m. During the closure, no Red Snapper shall be harvested, landed, or possessed in the state of Mississippi under the current guidelines of the Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP). The season will reopen and last until Labor Day or may close sooner if the MS Department of Marine Resources determines that the quota has been reached. Mississippi anglers are reminded that they must register their red snapper trips with the free Tails N Scales App prior to fishing in order to be compliant with Mississippi’s snapper regulations.
The recent red snapper stock assessment presented to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) at its June meeting in Key West showed that the stock is neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing. As a result of the assessment, the Allowable Biological Catch (ABC) was raised for the years 2019-2021 and the Gulf Council initiated steps to increase the allowable catch level.
This is good news for Mississippi anglers and recreational fishermen around the gulf as the increased catch level could allow for longer seasons and/or increased bag limits. – Johnny Marquez, MWF Director of Coastal Programs
The Gulf Council is also considering amendments to establish state management programs for recreational harvest of red snapper. States are currently managing red snapper harvest under a special exempted fishing permit for two years. The permit allows the states to manage to a quota, set their own seasons and establish a mechanism to track harvest. The amendments under consideration could make state management of snapper permanent.
For anglers fishing neighboring states’ EFP seasons for Red Snapper, they must launch and land their vessel in that state while complying with all regulations pertaining to that state’s EFP season. The federal charter for-hire Red Snapper season will continue as scheduled and remain open until July 21, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. For updates on calls-to-action, subscribe to our Camo Coalition.
Many who live in Gulf states think of the “BP Money” as one big pot of money that was paid out for damages from the Oil Spill. However, there are actually multiple pots of money that resulted from the spill settlement and each of them have slightly different objectives, requirements for administration and a different process and timing for selecting projects. The part of the settlement that resulted from damages to natural resources is overseen by multiple trustee groups for each state, regionally and for the open ocean. The Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group (MS TIG) is responsible for developing a restoration plan for Mississippi and selecting projects in Mississippi to restore Mississippi’s natural resources and to meet the criteria of the Oil Pollution Act.
The MS TIG is beginning the process of selecting its second round of projects which will cover restoration planning for the 2018-19 planning years. They are soliciting public input regarding natural resource restoration project ideas in Mississippi. Projects for this round of planning will focus on the following restoration types:
- Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats Projects that will focus on creating, restoring and enhancing wetlands or protecting and conserving marine, coastal, estuarine, and riparian habitats.
- Nutrient Reduction (Nonpoint Source)
- Sea Turtles
- Marine Mammals Submit Your Project Ideas
Projects must be submitted by August 10th through one of two project portals:
- Trustee Council Project Submission Portal.
- Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Restoration Project Idea Portal.
New projects submitted by the August 10th deadline as well as projects already in the portal will be considered for this second round of project selection. The Mississippi Wildlife Federation and National Wildlife Federation are working together to advocate for projects in the portal that are science based and that will have long lasting benefits such as strategic land acquisitions that will provide ecosystem benefits for generations to come. Stop by our coastal booth at the Extravaganza in Jackson August 3-5 and learn about some of these projects and how you can engage in the restoration process as a sportsmen.
Adopt-a-Stream (AAS) had a busy June this year. The month kicked off with the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation’s Youth Camp, involving kids in water quality and macroinvertebrates surveying activities. Our AAS Program Coordinator Debra Veeder also assisted with teacher workshops around the state, including classroom and field studies. Finally, the month concluded with St. Anthony’s summer camp, where elementary and middle school youth learned how streams and rivers become polluted.
AAS also held a two-day workshop at Flint Creek Water Park near Wiggins, MS. The thirteen participants learned about non-point source pollution, monitoring water quality, surveying for macroinvertebrates to determine a stream’s health, pollinators and native plants, along with other topics on stream stewardship. The class did field studies on Double Branch Creek in Stone County; and despite the thunderstorms in the preceding days, the creek’s water quality appeared healthy and several interesting macroinvertebrates were found.
AAS is a program that promotes environmental stewardship of our water resources and raises awareness about the effects we have on those resources. This is done through training workshops, outdoor field activities, youth educational programs, and the introduction of watershed action projects. Participants walk away from the workshops feeling empowered by the experience, having gained a tremendous amount of understanding of stream health by directly applying the science. As one participant explains, “I believe the workshop is a great workshop that packs a lot of great information in a short period of time.”
The two-day workshop provided twenty hours of Continuing Education Unit’s for participating teachers. This year, since the workshop was near Black Creek, a Wild and Scenic River, some participants took advantage of the opportunity to conduct a river clean-up in conjunction with a guided float trip. During the float, participants learned about the different trees that lined the creek, along with the various birds that take advantage of it. Several turtles were spotted sunning themselves on downed branches along the way. As we floated and learned about Black Creek we also picked up approximately eight bags of trash which included a cooler, plastic bucket, and a ceramic pumpkin.
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation thanks all the instructors that gave a presentation at the AAS workshop, especially Andrew Whitehurst from GRN and Paul Rodrigue from NRCS, who have been a part of these workshops for many years. Also, thanks to Black Creek Canoe Rental, Brooklyn, MS, who helped us set up the float trip and clean-up.