Letters to the Editor

Fish have value

I hope that very soon that Mississippi will realize the extraction of 100 million to 200 million pounds of fish by Omega Protein and Daybrook Fisheries from state waters is costing the state millions — if not more — in lost economic activity, jobs and real estate value.

Note that I say fish and not menhaden. That is because by-catch is not monitored on a daily basis. We have speckled trout now officially overfished. Actions will be taken to restrict recreational fishing as a result, which I support. But we don’t have any idea how many speckled trout or shrimp are caught with menhaden, especially in Jackson County, where the self-imposed  1/2-mile limit puts the nets in habitat used by speckled trout.

The menhaden plant odor that reaches to Industrial Road and U.S. 90 across all of Moss Point and most of Pascagoula affects real estate values and drives down property tax collections as a result. Compare the real estate values in Ocean Springs — which has no fishery smell — with Pascagoula and Moss Point.

Help us save recreational fishing and commercial hook and line fishing by eliminating that menhaden fishery in Mississippi waters. Let your politicians know it is time to improve our coastal economy by saying goodbye to this destructive fishery, which sells our fish short. The value of these fish is far greater when they’re left in the water to feed predators and expand our local recreational fishing.

Steve Shepard