Mississippi Sound reopens to commercial, recreational fishing

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Beginning at 6pm, the Mississippi Sound will reopen to all commercial and recreational finfish and shrimp fishing. All commercial and recreational crab and oyster fishing will remain closed in the affected area.

The reopening is being implemented after the completion of extensive sampling and testing conducted by the DMR, DEQ, NOAA and FDA. The FDA has advised that, following extensive sensory testing and chemical analysis, tissue samples tested indicate that seafood from these previously closed areas north of the barrier islands remain safe for consumption.

Due to a more complex testing process for crab and oyster, these fisheries will remain prohibited in the closed areas. Crab and oyster tissue samples are currently being tested, and as soon as data indicates they are safe for consumption, additional areas will be opened for these fisheries.

All waters north of the barrier islands that are normally open to shrimping will be open. However, DMR reminds shrimp fishermen who use skimmer trawls that a 30-minute tow time is in effect, unless they have a properly installed turtle excluder device.

All other regulations specific to each particular fishery will remain in full force and effect. Anglers are asked to avoid disturbing booms and oil spill-related activities.

Waters south of the barrier islands remain closed. Samples from that area have been collected and delivered to NOAA and FDA for analysis, and results are expected within seven to 10 days. Those waters will be reopened when sample results show that the fishery resources in that area are safe for consumption.

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