2002 Regular Session
To: Ports and Marine Resources
By: Senator(s) Hewes, Gollott
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 49-15-84, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY REGULATION OF CRAB TRAPS AND FEMALE CRABS BEARING EGGS; TO CREATE CODE SECTION 49-15-84.1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION ON MARINE RESOURCES TO ESTABLISH A CLOSED SEASON ON THE USE OF CRAB TRAPS; TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION ON MARINE RESOURCES TO DESIGNATE AS ABANDONED THOSE TRAPS REMAINING IN PUBLIC WATERS DURING THE CLOSED SEASON; TO PROVIDE THAT ABANDONED CRAB TRAPS ARE SUBJECT TO IMMEDIATE REMOVAL AND DISPOSAL; TO REPEAL SECTION 49-15-85, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROHIBITS THE TAKING AND POSSESSION OF EGG-BEARING CRABS; 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 * * * specifications for crab traps and shall require buoys of adequate size which are identified as to the owner of the buoys and traps. * * * 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 * * *. It is not unlawful to catch those crabs unintentionally, if the crabs are immediately returned to the water.
SECTION 2. The following shall be codified as Section 49-15-84.1, Mississippi Code of 1972:
49-15-84.1. (1) The commission may establish a closed season for the use of crab traps in the public waters of this state. The commission may designate the closed season as not less than ten (10) days nor more than thirty (30) days per year. Any crab trap remaining in the public waters after the expiration to the seventh day of a closed season may be considered as abandoned under the regulations established by the commission.
(2) The commission shall adopt rules to govern the removal and disposal of abandoned crab traps as necessary to enhance:
(a) The conservation and management of crab resources;
(b) Boating safety;
(c) The cleanliness of the beds and bottoms of the public waters of the state; and
(d) Enforcement of this chapter.
(3) Abandoned crab traps are litter and are subject to immediate removal and disposal.
SECTION 3. Section 49-15-85, Mississippi Code of 1972, which prohibits the taking and possession of female egg-bearing crabs, is repealed.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.