18-09-MMS| April 17, 2018
BILOXI, Miss. – Mississippi’s Red Snapper season will open Friday, May 25, in state and federal waters, officials with the Department of Marine Resources announced Tuesday.
Mississippi, along with other Gulf states, applied to NOAA for an Exempted Fishing Permit. This permit allows for the harvest of certain requested species that otherwise would not be allowed under federal regulations. NOAA approved Mississippi’s permit Monday.
This permit will allow the Gulf states to participate in a two-year pilot program for recreational Red Snapper harvest based on a quota for each state. This program also will allow managers in each state to gather data on Red Snapper.
The state-managed Red Snapper season is for private recreational anglers and state for-hire anglers. Private recreational anglers can fish out to 200 nautical miles. Vessels with state for-hire permits are allowed to fish in state territorial waters, which is nine nautical miles.
Mississippi’s quota is 137,949 pounds, which will be split proportionally between the private recreational and state for-hire sectors. The quota for recreational fishermen is 135,149 pounds. The state for-hire quota is 2,800 pounds. MDMR will manage each group’s allotment individually.
The season is projected to run through Sept. 3, Labor Day, with a possible season closure from July 9-22. This closure is to ensure Mississippi’s annual quota is not met before Labor Day and depends on the number of pounds caught before July 4.
The season will close if the assigned quota for recreational fishermen or state for-hire fishermen is reached at any point after the season opens. It also will close if the Gulf-wide quota is reached.
“This program allows Mississippi anglers more opportunity and greater flexibility to harvest Red Snapper,” said Matt Hill, director of MDMR’s Finfish Bureau. “It also allows the agency to closely monitor the harvest using the Tails N’ Scales Program.”
Tails N’ Scales is MDMR’s mandatory reporting program. Anglers must create a profile and start a trip before going fishing for Red Snapper. They must have a trip number when they are out on the water. They also must report their catch within 24 hours and close out one trip before creating a new one.
Anglers caught without an authorization number will be fined, and their fish confiscated.
Tails N’ Scales is available through a smartphone app, a website and a call center. The app is available in iTunes and Google Play, and the website is tailsnscales.org. Fishermen also can call 1-844-MSSNAPP (677-6277) to speak to a representative if they don’t have access to a smartphone or computer.
For questions regarding the Tails N’ Scales system or to report any issues, call 228-697-5762.
Anyone using the app must download the latest update before creating a trip this year.
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at dmr.ms.gov.