Mississippi Saltwater Fishing Limits

Methods of Take
 

A recreational fishing license is required for all methods of finfish harvest.

Saltwater finfish may be taken from Mississippi waters by any of the following methods:

  • Hook and line: Cane pole, handline or rod and reel.

  • Trotline: Anyone trotline fishing south of Interstate 10 must be registered with MDMR and be issued a unique number that is to be attached, along with fisherman’s name, to both ends of trotline on corrosion resistant tags, written in indelible ink so that it is readable by MDMR personnel. Beginning January 1, 2020, both recreational and commercial trotline tags shall be renewed on an annual basis. Trotline tags will be valid January 1-December 31 of each year.

  • Bow, spear or gig. No restriction on number of prongs.

  • Cast nets and brill (brail) nets: Not to exceed 12 feet in radius, may be used in marine waters only. No freshwater species may be in a fisherman’s possession while he is using a cast net or brill net.

  • Small-mesh beach seines under 100 feet in length and with a maximum 1/4-inch-square mesh size.

  • Trammel or gill nets, seines or any similar contrivance must be under 1,200 feet in total length. Gill and trammel nets must have a minimum 1-1/2-inch-square mesh size. From Oct. 15 through Dec. 15 of each year, gill and trammel nets must have a minimum square-inch mesh size of 1-3/4 inches. Gill and trammel nets must be made of MDMR-approved degradable materials. Haul seines shall be constructed of a mesh size not to exceed 15/16” bar and 1-7/8” stretch and shall not be constructed of monofilament.

  • Permitted eel traps must have a minimum of 1/2- by 1-inch-square mesh size.

Special Provisions

Commercial fishing is prohibited north of the CSX Railroad bridge in the three coastal counties of Mississippi.

In addition, the National Park Service prohibits commercial fishing within the Gulf Islands National Seashore boundary, which is a one-mile perimeter around Ship, Horn and Petit Bois islands.

Any person or company selling or transporting for sale any species of fish that does not meet Mississippi state size limits or for which the season is closed must possess valid documentation from the state or country of origin evidencing that the fish were legally harvested.

Catch Restrictions

King Mackerel fishing is defined as a fishing activity in which the sole purpose is to catch King Mackerel. Catching in excess of 10 percent by weight of species other than King Mackerel while net fishing for King Mackerel is prohibited.

Mullet fishing is defined as any net-fishing activity in which 90 percent or more of the total catch by weight consists of mullet. Mullet fishing using traps, seines or nets other than cast or brill nets is not permitted within 1,200 feet of any public or hotel pier nor within 300 feet of any private pier, provided that such piers are in usable condition and extend 75 feet or more from the shoreline. Nets must not exceed 1,200 feet in length.

The commercial season will run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 each year. Total allowable catch limits are 74,000 pounds for Flounder, 60,000 pounds for Red Drum and 50,000 pounds for Spotted Seatrout. When landing reports, as required by law, show the TAC has been reached for a given species, MDMR will, with adequate notice, issue a news release and public notice closing state waters to commercial fishing for that species for the remainder of that fishing year.

 

If the first half of the commercial TAC for Spotted Seatrout is not met in the first time period (Feb. 1 – May 31) the extra poundage shall be added to the second time period (June 1 – Oct. 31). However, if the 25,000-pound TAC is exceeded, the overage shall be subtracted from the second time period (June 1 – Oct. 31).

 

Purse seines may not be used to catch in excess of 5 percent by weight in any single set of the net, any of the following fishes:

  • Bluefish

  • King Mackerel

  • Cobia (Ling or Lemonfish)

  • Pompano

  • Dolphin

  • Spanish Mackerel

  • Jack Crevalle

  • Spotted Seatrout (Speckled Trout)

 

It also is illegal for any vessel carrying a purse seine to have on board in excess of 10 percent by weight of the total catch any of the aforementioned species.

 

It is further illegal for any vessel carrying a purse seine to have on board any quantity of Red Drum (Redfish).

Commercial fishermen may retain two Cobia per person for personal consumption.

It is illegal to sell Cobia caught in Mississippi territorial waters or landed in Mississippi.