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Freshwater Commercial Fishing

The use of certain fishing gear and/or the selling of non-game gross fish are activities regulated under the authority of commercial fishing regulations.


A commercial fishing license is needed to:

  • Sell nongame gross fish and non-native fish
  • Fish commercial fishing gear
  • Harvest minnows from public waters
  • Sell minnows at whole sale
  • Raise non-game wildlife in captivity
  • Cost: $30 resident, $200 non-resident.,
  • Special permits required for paddlefish harvest
  • Slat basket license (needed for each basket/box) $30
  • Commercial fishing licenses are sold at all fishing and hunting license vendor locations and at MDWFP Regional Offices; most State Parks; State Fishing Lakes the MDWFP Jackson Office. Commercial fishing licenses can also be purchased by mail and over the phone with a credit card payment by calling 1-800-5GO-HUNT 

Non-Game Gross Fish
The category of fishes listed as non-game gross fish are a valuable resource, supplying protein, income and enjoyment. These fish are sometimes referred to as rough fish. They consist of catfishes, buffalo fishes, paddlefish (spoonbill catfish), carp, shad, gar, drum, and several species of minnows. Non-game gross fish can be sold by persons having a commercial fishing license.

Commercial Fishing Gear
Non-game gross fish can be harvested using traditional sport fishing gear, but they can also be caught using commercial fishing gear, such as, gill nets, trammel nets, hoop nets, slat boxes, and trotlines. A person must have a commercial fishing license to fish commercial fishing gear. Although a trotline can be fished on a sport license, a commercial license is needed when fishing more than 100 hooks in aggregate or to sell fish.

Recent Changes to Commercial Fishing Rules

Over the last several years the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Commission has made some changes to the rule concerning commercial fishing. The current Rule can be found at: Commercial Fishing Rule

  1. The minimum slat width on slat baskets shall be 1 ¼ inches.
  2. Commercial fishing equipment will be TAGGED by a water proof tag that  has the fisherman's MDWFP # on the tag. Persons fishing hoop nets, gill nets, trammel nets, commercial trotlines, crawfish traps, shrimp traps, and slat baskets will no longer have to purchase a tag from MDWFP. A valid tag for commercial fishing gear can be (a) a waterproof tag supplied by the fisherman with the owner's MDWFP Number, or Customer ID Number. 
  3. A slat basket license will stil be needed for each slat basket that a person fishes.
  4. Persons with commercial fishing license may fish a trap for freshwater shrimp.
  5. There is no license exemptions for those helping a person with a commercial fishing license fish commercial fishing gear:  A person holding a Freshwater Commercial Fishing License can be assisted by a helper who has any valid license issued by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries & Parks.

Rules & Regulations

Paddlefish Program

The Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks recently passed final Rules for the commercial harvest of paddlefish for the 2015-2016 egg harvest season.

Paddlefish Rules and Regulations:

Rule 3.2 - Commercial Paddlefish Harvest

Rule 3.4 - Harvest Zones and Dates

Rule 3.5 - Permitting and Processing

Paddlefish Application Information for Paddlefish Permits

Asian Carp Program

Two companies in Mississippi are buying the invasive Asian Carp and need Commercial fishermen to harvest these species. If you would like more information about these companies and how to contact them please call Dennis Riecke at (601)-432-2207.

Additional Resources


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