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New Regulations Affect Several Fisheries in Alabama Waters

May 22, 2003

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division announces that as of May 21, 2003 the following five regulations became effective:

1.   Open season/areas for the taking of Live Saltwater Bait - Certain Areas off of Dauphin Island Bay (2003-MR-8).

This regulation states that effective 12:01 a.m., June 1, 2003, the following waters around Dauphin Island shall be opened only to live bait shrimping:

Buchanan Bay, Confederate Pass, British Bay, Columbia Bay, Colony Bay (Colony Cove), Spanish Bay, and Barcelona Bay.  These bays are all connected to Dauphin Island Bay.

These areas will be opened only to the taking of live saltwater bait with a shrimp trawl that shall not measure more than sixteen feet as measured across the cork line, between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Recreational shrimpers shall be limited to one gallon of shrimp per boat per day.  Exclusive bait shrimping areas are permanently closed to commercial shrimping.

2.   Use of Nets and Harvest of Mullet (2003-MR-8)

This regulation closes all Gulf waters in Alabama east of Old Little Lagoon Pass from May 8 through Labor Day to the use of gill nets.  Furthermore, gill nets are only allowed within one-quarter mile of the gulf shore line east of Old Little Lagoon Pass from October 2 through December 31 and from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. March 15 through May 7.

In addition, those gulf waters within one-quarter mile of the gulf beach west of Old Little Lagoon Pass and east of the last house on the west end of Dauphin Island shall only be opened to the use of gill nets from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. from March 15 until the Saturday before Labor Day. 

Provided further, all gulf waters out to three miles shall be closed to the use of gill nets for a minimum of three days during the Labor Day, Memorial Day, and July 4th holidays. In addition, all gulf waters are closed to the use of recreational gill nets.

3.   Menhaden Taken by Purse Seine (2003-MR-14)

This regulation limits the commercial taking of menhaden by purse seine to the third Monday in April through November 1, provides that no game fish may be retained, and limits the inshore areas where purse seines may be utilized to a small deeper water area in the southwest section of Mississippi Sound.

4.   Closed Fishing Season/Area – Little Lagoon (220-3-.64-121ER)

This regulation requires that individuals utilizing a recreational gill net in Little Lagoon obtain a seven day special use permit from the Marine Resources Division, deploy the net only from sunrise to sunset, and use a mesh size of one and one-half (1-1/2) inches knot to knot or larger.  Little Lagoon is open only to the recreational use of gill nets from May 1 through September 30th each year.

Furthermore, Little Lagoon shall be closed to the use of commercial gill nets or by the use of a shrimp trawl that exceeds sixteen feet as measured across the cork line.

5.   Temporary Closed Crab Fishing Season in Certain Areas (2003-MR-16)

This regulation would allow, for a second year, the shrimp fleet to remove deepwater derelict crab traps. The deepwater clean-up is the only way to remove the unseen derelict traps.  This regulation establishes a seven-day closed fishing season for the use of crab traps in waters that open to shrimping on the initial opening day of the 2003 shrimp season.

During the closure, any traps in the closed areas are considered marine litter, may be removed, and must be disposed of properly.

Questions about these regulations and requests for the special use permits should be directed to the Marine Resources Division at Dauphin Island, (334) 861-2882.

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