1999 Regular Session
To: Conservation and Water Resources
By: Representative Ellington
House Bill 1209
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 49-15-84, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE IMPORTATION OF FEMALE SPONGE CRABS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO REPEAL SECTION 49-15-85, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROHIBITS THE TAKING OF FEMALE CRABS BEARING EGGS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 49-15-84, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-15-84. (1) The commission shall coordinate with the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in the development of an ordinance for the purpose of taking callinectes sapidus (blue crab) or allied species. The ordinance shall include provisions for the establishment of size limits for individual or market use as well as establishing legal harvest size for the cultivating of peeler crabs and soft-shell crabs.
(2) The commission shall establish minimum specifications for crab traps and shall require buoys of adequate size which are identified as to the owner of the buoys and traps. Within the bays and bayous recreational crabbers may use no more than six (6) crab traps per household. The taking of crabs with drop nets is permitted without a license.
(3) It is unlawful to catch, hold or have in possession any female sponge crab or any female crab bearing visible eggs at any time within marine waters. It is not unlawful to catch those crabs unintentionally, if the crabs are immediately returned to the water. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the importation of female crabs during closed season from other coastal states where the taking and possession of such crabs is lawful, provided that each shipment or load of such imported female sponge crabs shall have with it either an invoice from a licensed harvester in a state which legally allows their taking, or a certificate from that state's appropriate agency verifying that the crabs were taking legally.
(4) During open seasons and in open areas, crabs may be taken with any legal crab traps (pots), drop nets, dip nets, or cast nets.
SECTION 2. Section 49-15-85, Mississippi Code of 1972, which prohibits the taking of female crabs bearing eggs, is repealed.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.