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Mississippi Proposing Expansion of Trip Tickets to Cover All Commercial Fishing

By Rhonda Miller | Published 12 Oct 2011 10:06pm | comments
Fishermen crowded a public hearing about the proposed expansion of Trip Tickets to cover all commercial fishing.

Commercial fishermen in Mississippi may soon have to log details about all their catches. At a public hearing at the state Department of Marine Resources in Biloxi last night, MPB’s Rhonda Miller found more than 100 fishermen who want more information about the possible expansion of Trip Tickets.

An interpreter explains to Vietnamese fishermen that Trip Tickets can be useful in a situation like the BP oil spill, when they need documents to be reimbursed for lost fishing income.

Trip Tickets include where and when fish are caught, the type of fish and the price they sell for. Mississippi Director of Marine Fisheries Dale Diaz says this proposal updates state record-keeping.

"Trip tickets have been popular in other states for some time. We’ve been implementing it partially over time," Diaz says. " We implemented it in oysters back in the 90s."

Even though fisherman Mark Kopszywa thinks the documentation has some good points, he has concerns.

"I see it as an invasion of privacy. We’re abiding by the limits and the rules and the regulations, so why do we have to tell everybody where we’re selling our stuff to?" Kopszya says. "It would say where I sold it to, how much, and that information could be used other ways."

Some are already convinced, like James A. "Catfish" Miller, who fishes commercially in several Gulf Coast states.

"We’re behind time. We need a Trip Ticket for everything - shrimp, oysters,crabs, snapper, grouper. So our state can keep up, legally, what you’re doing in our Gulf," Miller says.

Alabama has been using Trip Tickets for 11 years and Marine Resources Supervisor Chris Denson in Gulf Shores says the system provides valuable documentation.

"It’s a whole lot better system than what we’ve had in the past. More accurate," Denson says. "And those figures are actually used not only used for the management of our resources, but also in times of disasters, such as hurricanes and oils spills."

The proposed changes in Mississippi will come up for a vote at the Commission on Marine Resources on Tuesday. If approved, Trip Tickets will be required for all commercial fishing beginning January first.



Fishermen crowded a public hearing about the proposed expansion of Trip Tickets to cover all commercial fishing.



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