BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - If you fish, you should be familiar with the DMR regulations that govern what fish you can and can't keep. Many anglers measure their catch against ruler stickers from DMR that can be picked up at bait shops for free. But the newest ruler is off by about two inches in total.
Justin Roland owns the Tacklebox in Long Beach and was the first to notice the problem. He couldn't tell anything was wrong with the ruler until he put it up against last year's version. He said this could lead to big problems. "
What could happen is, people that are actually using these stickers as reference may unintentionally keep undersized fish," Roland said.
He believes that the error was simply a printing issue. According to DMR spokesperson, Melissa Scallan, that's exactly what happened.
"It was definitely not intentional. We proofed the sticker, we're not really sure how this happened," she said.
She advised everyone to throw away any ruler stickers that say August 2013. A reprint is scheduled, but she isn't sure when it will be done.
In the meantime, DMR advises fishermen to rely on a good ruler, and not the sticker. She said that even the old sticker may not be a good idea to use, considering that regulations sometimes change. But, according to DMR, the Marine Patrol has been notified about the issue and will work to not wrongly accuse anyone.
If you are caught with an undersized fish, the fine for the first offense could be as high as $500, unless the offense is committed during closed season, in which case the fine could be as high as $1,000. Second and third offenses get progressively larger penalties, including a $4,000 fine or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days.