COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION MISSISSIPPI
ADVOCACY UPDATE 2020 #3 (February)
ADVOCACY UPDATE is an informational release from CCA Mississippi intended to keep members aware of current issues and activities of the state and national association. News releases will also reach members with more pressing issues that warrant action by the association and may solicit member involvement.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: SENATE PORTS AND MARINE RESOURCES AND HOUSE MARINE RESOURCES COMMITTEES. One of the tasks undertaken by CCA Mississippi Government Relations Committee (GRC) is to monitor bills before the primary marine resources committees. We now know that the House Marine Resources Committee, Chaired by Representative Timmy Ladner, will consider HB 561. This bill, filed for a second year and passed last year by the full House, addresses the use of haul seines for the taking of finfish (added term to replace fish), defines “…the phrase ‘like contrivances’ to mean any net similar in form, function, purpose or use to a gill net, trammel net or entanglement net” and adds “It is unlawful for a person to use a haul seine net for the taking of fish in marine waters within one-half (1/2) mile of the shoreline of Cat Island.” The recent history with the use of “haul seines” is well-documented and this bill addresses only the distance from the shoreline of Cat Island since action has been taken to restrict the use of illegal nets revealed previously. Members are urged to contact their representative and voice support for this bill that is consistent with the position CCA Mississippi (click here) took last year when this bill was considered (but not passed out to the full Senate) by the Senate Ports and Marine Resources Committee, now chaired by Senator Philip Moran.
For informational purposes, listed below are the assigned Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Members of the primary committees for marine resource bills.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Marine Resources Committee.
Timmy Ladner, Chairman; Kevin Felsher, Vice-Chairman, Members: Brent Anderson; Charles Busby; Carolyn Crawford; Casey Eure; Jeffrey S. Guice; Greg Haney; Stacey Hobgood-Wilkes; Jay McKnight; Sonya Williams-Barnes
SENATE Ports & Marine Resources Committee
Chairman; Mike Thompson, Vice-Chairman
Members: Albert Butler; Scott DeLano; Jeremy England; W. Briggs Hopson III; Joseph M. Seymour; Derrick T. Simmons; Sarita Simmons; Melanie Sojourner; Brice Wiggins
As of Friday, February 7, 2020, the bills referred to the House Marine Resources Committee included HB 561, and four other bills addressing riparian right on Deer Island, two marine enforcement measures presumed recommended by MDMR, and oyster shell fees paid by commercial and recreational harvesters and adding an off-bottom aquaculture fee.
The Senate Ports and Marine Resources Committee has only one bill before this committee that addresses procedures for penalty processing and possible license revocation for failure to pay assessed judgements. http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2020/pdf/SB/2100-2199/SB2153IN.pdf
GULF COUNCIL CONCLUDES FIRST 2020 MEETING. Mississippi has three positions on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council: Dale Diaz, LeAnn Bosarge, and Dr. Paul Mickle, designee of the Department of Marine Resources. For full coverage, see the Gulf Council link:
Red Drum. CCA has concerns with a draft amendment that would potentially open commercial access to Red Drum in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and is monitoring this process. Since no catch data is available, arriving at a Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), a measure that applies to commercial catch, is not defined since Red Drum are managed based on an escapement rate target for each of the states (the adopted option was 30% escapement rate of juvenile fish to the spawning stock biomass equivalent to 30% of those that would have escaped had there been no inshore fishery). One of the two opposing votes was recorded by Mississippi Commercial Member LeAnn Bosarge.
Catch Share Program. CCA continues to have concerns with the commercial red snapper catch share program, specifically in-perpetuity ownership of a public resource; failure of the system to provide quota to land red snapper bycatch in other fisheries (known to be a problem in the grouper program), and the high bar set for new entrants to the red snapper fishery.
State Management of Red Snapper. MDMR has now set the Mississippi season for red snapper
[ https://dmr.ms.gov/mississippis-recreational-red-snapper-season-will-open-friday-may-22/ ] since this meeting confirmed NOAA approval of state management. CCA Mississippi is proud of the work MDMR staff have done to make our Tailsn’Scales work to the benefit of recreational anglers. For details: http://gulfcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/B-10c-Mississippi-RS-EFP-Gulf-Council-Update.pdf
LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES CONSIDERING OPTION FOR MANAGEMENT OF SPOTTED (SPECKLED) SEATROUT. Louisiana has now joined Mississippi in recognizing a decrease in their Spotted Seatrout stock. Since many members fish Louisiana waters, this link provides information: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/spotted-seatrout