Freshwater Commercial Fishing
The use of certain fishing gear and/or the selling of nongame gross fish are activities regulated under the authority of commercial fishing regulations.
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.
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, trotlines, and seines. 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.
Paddlefish Fishing: Summer tags that allow possession of paddlefish (5 per day) during the months of May to August are now available from the Jackson Office. These tags are made available so that fishers can utilize paddlefish that may not survive capture during the summer when fishing for buffalo, carp or catfish. Paddlefish Summer Harvest Information Sheet
If a person is interested in fishing next winter for paddlefish roe, the period to apply for the required permit is May 15 to May 30. An application can be applied for at any license agent. Tell the license agent you wish to purchase Fishing License Privilege number 342 and your application will be entered electronically through the license system.
Notice: scroll down to get information on changes to commercial fishing regulations, especially in regards to commercial fishing equipment and slat basket tags
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
- Harvest common snapping turtles (with special harvest permit from MMNS)
- Raise non-game wildlife in captivity
- Cost: $30 resident, $200 non-resident.,
- Gear tag $3
- Special permits required for paddlefish harvest
- Slat basket license (needed for each box) $30
- Commercial fishing licenses are sold at any MDWFP Regional Office; at any State Park; and the MDWFP Office in Jackson. Commercial fishing licenses can also be purchased by mail. Places to get a commercial Fishing License
- Application for Commercial Fishing License
Rules & Regulations
- Commercial Fishing Regulations
- Paddlefish Harvest Regulations (including sale of paddlefish and BOWFIN roe)
- Alligator Gar Information Sheet and Form to Order Tags
- Border States - Rules & regulations
- Turtles, snakes, mussels, others (a Commercial Fishing License is not the proper license for the take of these)
Recent Changes to Commercial Fishing Laws and Regulations
The MDWFP Commission at their October 2011 and May 2012 meetings made changes to the Public Notice that regulates commercial fishing. Some of the changes are listed below. For a copy of the regulations that went in effect June 25, 2012 (PN F7-2999), see the links above in "Rules and Regulations".
- It is unlawful for persons to tamper with someone else's gear.
- "driving fish" is now permitted as long as fish structure is not disturbed.
- Pyramid style and pillow style traps can be used to harvest CRAWFISH.
- A Commercial Fishing License is needed to sell crawfish caught from the wild
- Nongame gross fish can be packaged as nuggets or strips for wholesale distribution. Fish displayed at Fish markets and on routes must still abide by length limit restrictions.
- On border waters with Arkansas the 34 inch rule on catfish has been repealed (34" rule still applies to border waters with TN & AL)
- There is no limit on the diameter of the hoops in a hoopnet: The Commission at their March 2012 meeting repealed the restriction that hoop nets with mesh less than 3", the maximum hoop size shall be 42 inches.
- To possess alligator gar it has to be tagged with tags issued by MDWFP (see link below to order tags)
- Quota established on commercial harvest of alligator gar at 200 (went into effect in February 2012)
- Bream, that have been caught by legal methods (generally sport fishing) are the Only gamefish that can be used as bait on commercial trot lines
- Not submitting, or falsifying, a harvest report may jeopardize one's ability to renew their commercial fishing license.
- All Commercial Fishing Equipment Tags and Slat Basket Tags that were sold prior to June 26, 2012 will expire 6/30/2013. The tags that are currently sold will have a space where the owner of the gear will have to ENGRAVE their MDWFP Number on the Commercial Fishing Equipment Tag or Slat Basket Tag that they purchase. The tags with MDWFP # will not expire as long as the MDWFP # is legible. The MDWFP # used to be referred to as the Customer Identification Number. Click to see an Example of the labeling of a new tag. The tags issued prior to June 25, 2012, have a 7 digit number that begin with either 08, 09, or 10, followed by a dash, such as 08-, 09-, 10-: All Tags issued prior to June 25, 2012 will expire on June 30, 2013.
- Alligator Gar Information Sheet and Form to Order Tags
- Harvest Report Form and directions
- Asian Carp - Recipes and How to Prepare Asian Carp and distribution options
- Paddlefish Summer Harvest Information Sheet
- Contact for questions or more information
- Project reports on Mississippi's "commercial fishery"