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Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater Finfish

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 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.

Saltwater Minnow License

In order to catch or transport saltwater minnows for sale, fishermen must obtain a saltwater minnow license (see license fees).

All minnow traps placed in or on the marine waters of Mississippi must have a corrosion-resistant metal or plastic tag permanently attached to the trap and stamped with the licensed owner’s full name. The minimum height of the
letters shall be at least 3/16 of an inch.

Commercial Net Fishing

The possession of a gill net, trammel net or like contrivance, or any other equipment prohibited for use in the taking or harvesting of seafood on a vessel on the marine waters of this state where the use of the net, contrivance or equipment is prohibited, shall constitute prima facie evidence that an offense has been committed to take or harvest seafood with nets, contrivances or equipment prohibited by this chapter, unless the vessel is:

  1. Anchored or moored at a permanent facility intended for the mooring
    of vessels;
  2. Traveling directly between a marina, harbor or public boat launching facility and a U.S. Coast Guard marked and maintained navigation channel; OR
  3. Traveling within a U.S. Coast Guard marked and maintained navigation channel.

The use of gill or trammel nets is prohibited within 1/2 mile of the shoreline.

All nets, regardless of type, must be clearly marked with the owner’s name or license number. Floats or buoys must be placed at intervals of 100 feet or less.

Nets, seines or fish traps used for catching fish are not permitted within 1,200 feet of any pier or harbor. Nets, seines or fish traps are not permitted within 100 feet of the mouth of any bay, bayou, creek, canal, stream, lake, inlet, channel or tributary or within any area that would block the mouth of any such body of water. (Please note: gill and trammel nets are prohibited within 1/2 mile of the shoreline.)

Reef Fish Regulations

All fishermen fishing for reef-associated species (snappers, groupers, triggerfish and amberjack) must use NON-stainless steel circle hooks when using natural baits while fishing for all reef species, including Red Snapper.

The Direct Enhancement of Snapper Conservation and the Economy through Novel Devices Act of 2020 (DESCEND Act), effective January 13, 2022, requires fishermen to have a venting tool and/or descending device rigged and ready to use when fishing for reef fish. This rule applies to fishing for reef fish from commercial vessels, charter vessels and headboats and private recreational fishing vessels.

Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (MS ROLP)

Beginning February 1, 2024, it is mandatory for Mississippi anglers to obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP) to possess any reef fish species which includes any species of snapper, amberjack, grouper, hind, triggerfish and Cobia in Mississippi waters. Gray (Mangrove) Snapper may be harvested North of the Intracoastal Waterway (inshore) without this permit.

The ROLP was created to allow Mississippi’s fisheries managers to better quantify the proportion of Mississippi anglers that fish for key federally managed species. It will also work together with the MS CREEL ( fishing effort survey to create a clear concept of the fishing activity for Mississippi’s saltwater anglers.

The permit is free of charge and is considered a supplemental license to the recreational saltwater fishing license. The ROLP is not required for fishermen not fishing for the above-listed species or if only fishing for those species as a client on charter boats. If fishing offshore for other species where a fishermen may land any of the above listed species, it is recommended to have the ROLP. Persons currently exempt from purchasing a fishing license (those under 16 or disabled as described in MS Code 49-15-69) are not required to have a valid ROLP.

Charter captains, including those fishing from vessels with a valid federal charter/headboat permit, are required to have a valid ROLP to possess the species listed above. A charter captain with a ROLP covers all paying anglers on a charter trip. When a charter captain is on a private recreational offshore trip, all other anglers on the vessel are required to have a ROLP.

When registering for a ROLP, anglers must enter their MDWFP Customer ID Number accurately for successful validation. A valid email and mailing address is also required for successful permit distribution. Anglers may register for their ROLP and view frequently asked questions at

After successful registration, a temporary ROLP will be issued within minutes by email. User information will be validated and a 2024 calendar year permit will be issued within 10 business days. All ROLPs will expire annually on December 31 of the current calendar year regardless of registration date. Anglers may contact program administration at [email protected] or the MS Recreational Fishing Survey Hotline at (228) 325-1585.