Discussions heated up about a technique of commercial fishing Tuesday in Biloxi. Ryan Bradley, president of Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United says there has been a recent uptick in complaints centered on seine nets, a fishing technique used by commercial fishermen.
Bradley said the commercial sector has an annual limit on species like speckled trout, which is 50,000 pounds. Once that quota is reached the season is closed. "The difference in the recreational sector is there's no total allowable catch in the recreational sector meaning that they can catch unlimited amount of fish combined each year," said Bradley.
The commercial fishermen at this Commission on Marine Resources Meeting said the number of fish caught recreationally is way higher than commercially. "They outnumber us a thousand to one so if every recreational guy catches one fish he's tripled our amount without even trying," said Larry Ryan.
Ryan is carrying on his family's business in fishing. "We're not trying to fight. We're not trying to argue. We're trying to go to work to feed our families just like everybody else," he said.
In an effort to stop misinformation from spreading, Matt Hill, the Finfish Bureau Director presented to the CMR about haul seine nets. "It is a legal fishery. They are harvesting a very small amount of the quota species such as speckled trout, red drum, and flounder," said Hill.
Hill believes it's time for the recreational and commercial fishermen to come together. "We're just trying to find a balance between both of these sectors and try to keep both fisheries going and keep this commercial industry alive at the moment," he said.
No action was taken on the issue of seine nets, but Hill did say there could be more regulations implemented in the future.