Advocacy Update – February 12, 2019

Advocacy Update – February 12, 2019

CMR PASSES NET REGULATION CHANGES AND FILES NOTICE OF INTENT: PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2019.

When the CMR appointed the Gear Type Task Force, the expectation was that the first task of his group would be to address definitions of net gear types that would be presented to the Commission with a public hearing or comment period to follow. We are at that point now and the obvious question is whether these changes will address the issues that brought the “haul seine” issue to public notice. A Public Hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 14, 2019, at 5:00 PM in the Bolton Building in Biloxi.

Members can read the proposed changes taken from the DMR website under Public Notices. The changes are to two parts of the CMR Regulations, links to which are: http://dmr.ms.gov/index.php/news-a-events/public-notices/1321-legal-notice-for-title-22-part-5-noi-haul-seine-012419   

http://dmr.ms.gov/index.php/news-a-events/public-notices/1320-legal-notice-for-title-22-part-8-noi-definitions-012419

Please consult the links above for full detail of the changes and the parts of regulations within which these changes are embedded. In a Cliff’s Notes summary, these are the changes:

Title 22, Part 5, Chapter 4, 100 & 101 The term haul seine was added to the listing of nets previously in the regulations. The change is to commercial fishermen tending their nets at all times but the provision of “one boat length” was deleted as too restrictive and unenforceable.

Title 22, Part 08 Chapter 4 (Definitions) added:

116 ENTANGLEMENT – a method in which fish are primarily ensnared or entangled by the gills of other boney projections, within a space through interaction with gear.

117 ENTRAPMENT – a method in which fish are primarily surrounded and confined, not entangled by the gills or other boney projections, within a space through interaction with gear.

124 HAUL SEINE – A net set vertically in the water column and pulled by hand or by power to capture fish by entrapment through encircling and confining fish within itself, the shore or ban as a result of mesh size and construction. Haul seines shall be constructed of a mesh size not to exceed fifteen sixteenths (15/16”) bar and one inch and seven eights (1 7/8”) strength and shall not be constructed of monofilament.

The definition of a gill net is already present in this Chapter. 123 GILL NET – shall be defined as any net, of one or more layers, not customarily used for shrimp or menhaden fishing, with a mesh of such size and design as to be used primarily to catch or entangle fish by the gills or other boney projections. Gill nets also must be degradable and this definition remains dating back to the 1990s as the compromise adopted by the CMR when the gill net issue was rampant. 

Members are urged to take the time to review these changes and provide any feedback directly to DMR at publiccomments@dmr.ms.gov and copy CCA Mississippi at govtrel@cca.ms. Members should also plan to attend the public hearing on February 14 and voice opinions about the changes. Remember that such comments submitted in writing or in person must focus on the changes proposed.

FOIA DATA ON BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN MORTALITY IN THE MISSISSIPPI SOUND PURSE SEINE (MENHADEN) FISHERY 2018.  Reports by recreational anglers that dead bottlenose dolphins were observed in the Mississippi Sound during the season that some assumed were connected to operations of the menhaden purse seine fishery led to a request for data from the Southeast Regional Office, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  With the close of the fishing season for 2018, a reply was received. This is self-report data required of the fishery when interactions with marine mammals occur. Only two were reported “incidental to the Gulf of Mexico Purse Seine Fishery within the Mississippi Sound in 2018”. The request had limited interest to the Mississippi Sound. Across the Gulf, there were more mortalities of bottlenose dolphins and other mammals. Four (4) bottlenose dolphin mortalities were reported (dates in 2018):

August 1 N 30.16.22 W 88.31.56 Bottlenose dolphin Number = 2

These coordinates place the reports in the eastern Sound.

August 13 N 30.18.05 W 89.05.27 Bottlenose dolphin Number = 2

These coordinates place the reports south of Gulfport Harbor.    

Members are urged to be on the lookout for unusual events such as possible sightings of dead dolphins or turtles that warrant investigation by DMR or federal agencies and/or can be brought to the attention of private agencies such as IMMS. NMFS/NOAA does track marine mammal interactions by the menhaden fleet with data provided by the company and is the source of this data.

FROM THE CCA WORLD: LEGISLATION IN WASHINGTON STATE WOULD BAN NON-TRIBAL GILL NETS STATEWIDE, PROVIDE FOR BUYOUT.  Some ten years ago, an imposing figure appeared at a National CCA Board meeting and requested that Washington and Oregon be considered for state chapters. The case for why anglers of the Pacific Northwest needed guidance and support from CCA was presented by G (as in Gary) Loomis. The issue, as was the original issue that led to CCA, was gill nets endangering the marine stocks, in this case the salmon and steelhead runs that are distinctive to these species. CCA Washington and CCA Oregon have had some success and their legislators have taken up the call. Read about the current move at https://www.joincca.org/conservationists-rally-behind-bill-to-ban-gill-nets-in-washington-state-waters-sb-5617-would-ban-non-tribal-gill-nets-statewide-provide-for-buyout/ . On behalf of CCA Mississippi, we wish our colleagues in Washington state success. Stay tuned.

CCA MISSISSIPPI IS THE VOICE OF RECREATIONAL ANGLERS IN MISSISSIPPI. JOIN US IN THIS TASK.