Commercial Methods of Take
Shrimp Harvesting Regulations
- Open Seasons and Areas: Saltwater shrimp may only be harvested with authorized equipment during open seasons and in designated areas.
- Authorized Equipment: Permissible gear includes shrimp trawls, butterfly nets, skimmer nets, push trawls, beach seines, and cast nets.
- North of Barrier Islands: In the Mississippi Sound, shrimp harvesting north of the barrier islands is restricted to single nets, not exceeding 50 feet along the headrope and 60 feet along the footrope, or two nets, each no longer than 25 feet on the headrope and 32 feet on the footrope.
- Test Trawl: A test trawl, limited to 12 feet along the headrope and 15 feet along the footrope, with boards no more than 30 inches in length, is permitted during open seasons in designated areas.
- Trawl Doors: Trawl doors must not exceed 8 feet by 43 inches.
- Personal Consumption Allowance: Licensed shrimp trawlers can retain up to 25 pounds of specified fish species and three dozen blue crabs for personal consumption, subject to size and creel limits.
- Non-Resident Regulations: Non-resident licensed shrimp trawlers may retain the allowance only if their home state has a reciprocal agreement with Mississippi.
Equipment Size Restrictions:
- Skimmer Trawls or Wing Nets: Maximum size should not exceed 25 feet on the headrope and 32 feet on the footrope.
- Turtle Excluder Device (TED): All recreational and commercial shrimp trawl vessels with a mechanical assisted retrieval system and skimmer vessels 40 feet and larger must be equipped with a Turtle Excluder Device as per federal requirements. Contact NOAA at 228-762-4591 for more information.
Recreational Methods of Take
Shrimp Harvesting Regulations for Recreational Fishermen
- License Requirement: A recreational shrimp license is mandatory for shrimp harvesting by trawl. However, no recreational fishing license is needed for shrimp harvest using a cast net, unless retaining finfish.
- Restrictions on Trawling: Recreational shrimp trawling is permitted only in open areas during designated seasons.
- Equipment Limitations: Holders of a recreational shrimp trawling license are restricted to using a single net, which must not exceed 16 feet along the headrope.
- Prohibition on Sale: Shrimp harvested recreationally cannot be sold.
- Finfish Regulations: All finfish caught during recreational shrimp harvesting can be retained for personal consumption but must adhere to minimum size and creel limits.
Cast Net Regulations:
- Maximum Quantity: Cast nets or brill nets with a maximum radius of 12 feet can be used to catch up to 50 pounds of shrimp per person per day for personal consumption.
- Location Limitation: This allowance applies to public waterways south of Interstate 10 in the three coastal counties of Mississippi.
- No Removal of Shrimp Heads: Persons using cast nets or brill nets must not remove the heads of the shrimp on-site.
- Beach Seines: Small mesh beach seines under 100 feet in length, with a maximum 1/4-inch-square mesh size, are permitted for shrimp harvesting.
Restricted Areas for Trawling
Prohibited Trawling Zones
- Mainland Proximity: Trawling activities are prohibited within a distance of 1/2 mile from the mainland, except for licensed live-bait catcher boats.
- Gulf Islands National Seashore: Both recreational and commercial trawling are forbidden within one mile of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, encompassing Ship, Horn, and Petit Bois islands.
- Intracoastal Waterway: Trawling is not permitted north of the Intracoastal Waterway (tugboat channel) starting on January 1st of each year.
- Seasonal Closure: The area south of the Intracoastal Waterway (tugboat channel) and west of the Gulfport ship channel is closed to trawling after April 30th of each year, and before the commencement of shrimp season (with potential extensions granted by the MDMR based on sampling results).
Shrimp season is officially opened by public notice at such time that the MDMR’s Office of Marine Fisheries has determined that the shrimp have reached legal size. Miss Code Ann. 49-15-64.1.
Shrimp smaller in average size than 68 count to the pound cannot be taken in Mississippi waters, except by licensed live-bait boats. Miss Code Ann. 49-15-64.3.
It is illegal for anyone to drag or pull a trawl or try net under the water with the bag tied or untied within any waters that are closed to shrimping. Title 22, Part 2, Ch. 4, Rule 4.7.
Commercial shrimpers are permitted to sell their legally caught shrimp live with a “Fresh Product” permit.
For the latest updates on the Mississippi shrimp fishery, call the toll-free 24-hour Shrimp Information Hotline at 1-866-WE-TRAWL (866-938-7295).
Licensed Live-Bait Shrimping Regulations
The live-bait fishery plays a vital role in serving recreational fishermen and bolstering Mississippi's tourist industry. To minimize its impact on shrimp and fish populations, specific regulations and privileges are implemented.
- Geographical Limitation: Licensed live-bait catcher boats are barred from trawling north of the CSX Railroad bridge in the three coastal counties of Mississippi.
Licensing and Application
- Written applications for live-bait licenses must be submitted to the Office of Marine Fisheries.
Size Regulations and Identification
- Shrimp of 100 count to the pound are the minimum legal size for licensed live-bait dealers.
- Licensed live-bait boats and transport vehicles must prominently display the designation "LIVE BAIT" in specified dimensions.
- Live-bait trawling is permissible during daylight hours with trawl size restrictions.
- Tows must not exceed 25 minutes, and boats cannot carry over 30 pounds of dead shrimp.
- Special areas may be designated for live-bait trawling with additional restrictions.
Fish Handling and Sales
- Fish caught during live-bait operations can be sold for chum if they meet legal size requirements.
- Bulk sales of dead shrimp are prohibited. They can only be sold with heads attached and in limited quantities.
- Live-bait camps must maintain adequate holding and aerating systems, clean of dead shrimp every 12 hours.
- Bulk sales of dead shrimp are prohibited, limited to small containers with specific sales restrictions.
- Camps must be accessible to the public and staffed during designated hours.
Enforcement and Penalties
- Purchasing dead shrimp in bulk from a live-bait dealer is illegal, subject to fines.
- Further information and regulations can be obtained from the MDMR.