Coast fishermen protest fishing regulations - - The News for South Mississippi

Coast fishermen protest fishing regulations

Many fishermen say the regulations are not fair.. (Photo source: WLOX) Many fishermen say the regulations are not fair.. (Photo source: WLOX)

Around 20 boats and their crews came together outside of Biloxi Small Craft Harbor to protest what they view as an equal rights violation.

The group is upset that Federal Fisheries Management condensed public red snapper fishing in the Gulf to a three day period.

Mark Miller with the Deep Water Mafia diving group helped organize the protest.

"They've basically made a commodity out of a natural resource and they divvy it out to these few individuals and nobody else can get them," Miller explained.

In 2017, red fish season for recreational fishermen was June 1-4. Charter fisherman have a 49-day season, while commercial fishermen are able to fish 365 days a year. 

"Everybody has different methods of fishing. You can see how complicated it can get if you try to make regulations for every group, so my philosophy is one set of rules for everybody," Miller said.

David Graham works on a charter boat, which has a 49-day season but is limited to 2 fish per day. He says they've had to change their business model due to the steep regulations. 

"If you take a charter boat out today, it would be very hard to charge someone $750, $850 to go offshore for half a day and you're only allowed to catch two fish," said Graham. "We have to be more creative in the fish that we go after."

Graham isn't the only one that's had to deal with the drawbacks of a shortened season. Local bait shops have seen changes in sales too. 

"Yeah, it will affect our sales. We sell live fish to the fishermen and 25 pound boxes of pogies and squid by the pound that they use to catch the snapper. But in the three day season, a lot of them didn't even go," said Ross Broussard, co-owner of Biloxi Bait Shop.

Along with the snapper regulations, the fisheries management has also closed down amberjack and triggerfish for the entire year. 

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