DMR hands out legislative 'wish list' at forum in Biloxi

lwalck@sunherald.comDecember 5, 2013 

BILOXI -- A handful of Coast legislators were treated to a seafood dinner and a fact-filled show Thursday evening, compliments of the Department of Marine Resources.

The DMR hosted its annual legislative forum at the Biloxi Visitors Center to update lawmakers on the past year at the agency.

A list of suggested changes to the Mississippi Code were also handed out.

"I call this Christmas wish list time," said state Rep. Greg Haney, R-Gulfport. "Other agencies do the same thing."

State Rep. Casey Eure, R-Biloxi, said he liked the DMR's suggestion of creating a sea turtle license plate to bring awareness to conservation. But he said he needed to look into the change that would allow harvesting of egg-bearing blue crabs, as the blue crab population has had a very down year.

"We need to take some time to do some research on our own," he said of the proposed changes.

After the forum, a seafood buffet prepared by Taste Catering of Biloxi featured soft-shell crab raised in the DMR's Lyman Fish Hatchery.

DMR spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said a combination of donations and BP money was used for the event.

"No state money was used," she said.

Jamie Miller, DMR executive director, made the presentation and introduced new staff members.

He said the event is usually a luncheon, but it was pushed back to allow legislators time to get back from the Governor's Energy Summit in Jackson.

Six representatives were in attendance Thursday. Haney said the summit was the likely reason for the small turnout, and that previous events have drawn bigger crowds.

Eure said he was impressed with Miller's leadership, adding the agency seemed headed in the right direction.

"I think this is a new day for DMR, and it starts with Jamie," he said.

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