BILOXI, Mississippi — Jamie Miller, executive director of the state Department of Marine Resources, announced the decision Thursday after the Commission on Marine Resources voted 3-0 to give him the authority to open a season in state waters.
"I value the relationship we have with our federal partners," Miller said, "but at the end of the day, our agency must do what is right for Mississippi anglers."
The nine miles of Mississippi waters will be open for red snapper fishing on July 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27. The bag limit will be two red snapper per person, with a minimum size of 16 inches.
The federal red snapper season ran June 1-9. Most of the red snapper fishing is in the deeper federal waters near oil rigs
In 2012 the state Legislature approved extending state waters to 8 miles for fisheries management, and the law went into effect July 1, 2013. However, anglers are reminded the federal government does not recognize this distance, and anyone possessing red snapper farther than 3 miles south of the barrier islands could receive citations from federal or state law enforcement officers. Fishing between 3 and 9 miles in Mississippi waters is at the angler's own risk.
The department is asking fishermen to participate in the agency's voluntary red snapper reporting program during the July season and can report their catch on the agency's website, http://www.dmr.ms.gov.