MDWFP commission approve commercial fishing regulations

Published 1:17 pm Thursday, September 14, 2023

JACKSON — Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Commissioners adopted new commercial fishing regulations today as a final rule. September’s regularly scheduled meeting took just 15 minutes at J.P. Coleman State Park. 

In addition to adopting the new rule, MDWFP heard a report on revenue increases and law enforcement activity. 

No public comment was made for the commercial fishing regulations and it passed with no discussion. The rule legalizes the use of wire reinforced nets for catfish fishing and bans the sale of sturgeon, sturgeon parts or eggs. Fisheries director Jason Brown had concerns that the eggs of sturgeon could be sold for caviar if not properly protected with a new rule. 

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Wire reinforced nets are currently used in neighboring Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana for commercial catfishing. 

Revenue increases 

Commissioners voted earlier this year to increase the license fees for non-residents in fishing and hunting licenses and already they have seen growth in license revenue. Two months into Fiscal Year 2024, MDWFP has generated $1.3 million in revenue which is a two percent increase. 

Jason Thompson said the revenue increase can be attributed to non-resident fishing permit fees going up, increase in non-resident deer permit fees and the new freshwater fishing guide permits. Since creating the freshwater fishing guide permit, 62 permits have been sold to 56 residents and six non-residents bringing in $45,000 of revenue. 

Velvet season permit numbers as of today were strong. Residents have purchased 594 velvet season permits at $10 a piece and 225 non-residents have bought deer permits at $100 a piece, $50 more than last year’s deer permit fee. Combined the velvet season is pulling in $28,440 of revenue. 

“You keep giving good reports and I hope it never stops,” Commission chair Bill Cossar said. 

Law Enforcement Updates

Scottie Jones gave a report on law enforcement on behalf of Col. Jerry Carter, Chief of Law Enforcement, Thursday. Jones said they issued 270 citations in August. 

No license was the most common offense with 101 citations, 29 citations were issued for no personal flotation device, 22 citations for no boating registration, 16 for running light violations and eight for reckless operation. 

Dove season was a busy time for the department as officers worked the opening weekend across the state. Jones said 12 new officers got great experience afield and meeting landowners across the state on Labor Day weekend. 

“We are excited to have hunting season underway and the weather is starting to feel like it as well,” Jones said. “Opening weekend of dove season we worked across the state and checked 4,278 hunters. We issued 413 citations and this year seems like it was the year for baited fields.” 

MDWFP commissioners closed the meeting to go into executive session to discuss the purchase of property. It is unknown if any action was taken in the executive session. 

October’s commission meeting will be held at Buccaneer State Park on October 12.