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DMR tells fishermen to dump catches (Updated 11:45 a.m.)

Officials with the Department of Marine Resources this morning are telling fishermen to dump their catches if they come off the water in areas closed Tuesday evening because of oil found on Petit Bois Island off the coast of Pascagoula.

Larry Ryan, a professional crabber from Pascagoula, was required to dump his catch, about 200 pounds of crabs he had caught this morning.

The DMR said in a press release Tuesday that it was using an "abundance of caution" in closing state waters lying east of 88 degrees, 40 minutes west longitude and south of the CSX Railroad, excluding Graveline Bayou and its tributaries.

The waters are closed to all commercial and recreational fishing, including all species of finfish, crabs, shrimp and oysters.

Anyone with fish or seafood from the area will be required to immediately return them to the water.

DMR patrolmen ordered Don Goleman of Irvington, Ala., to throw back fish that he and his two sons and a friend had caught early this morning under the homeport causeway just off the Pascagoula beach.

Goleman, who has fished this area most of his life, had a cooler full of white trout, speckled trout and redfish and a black drum. In all about 70 pounds, he said.

Goleman said the bridge, not more than a football field or two in length from shore, was where he caught the fish. The group set out 2 a.m. until 8 a.m., when DMR told them to dump their catch.

"We were out there fishing when the DMR boat came up. He said, 'I've got good news and bad news.' " Goldman said. The good news was that they could fish a mile west at Graveline Bayou but that the waters where they had been fishing were closed.

"He made me dump all my fish out,"Goleman said. "I don't see the difference in the mile of distance and where fish swim."

Reginald Evans of Moss Point, his brother and a nephew, were stopped about 20 minutes after they got on the water and were told, "the oil was too close in," for them to fish, Evans said he was told.

The Evans group decided to try their luck on the Pascagoula River north of U.S. 90, which is still open.

Read more about this story as details become available. Look for a full report in Thursday's Sun Herald.

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