About Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks

Who is the Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks?

The Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks was founded in 1969 as a nonprofit organization to create artificial fishing reefs to enhance recreational fishing. Since that time, we have established over 550 individual reefs at over19 separate permitted sites. Our reef materials consist of salvaged Liberty ships, barges, tugs, railroad cars, derelict steel hull vessels, concrete rubble and other environmentally safe materials of opportunity which will provide habitat for marine fishes and other organisms. Membership consists of sport fishermen, charter boat captains, commercials fishermen, SCUBA divers, and anyone with an interest in Mississippi’s coastal area fishing.

Why Create Artificial Fishing Reefs?

Fish need a home, and a home means a place to eat and rest. The coastal region of  Mississippi consists of a flat, featureless plain made up of soft bottom and very little rough, irregular habitat that obligate reef fish species such as snapper, grouper, and triggerfish prefer to call home. Artificial reef structures provide this habitat and also provide habitat for small marine animals such as crabs, shrimps, worms, barnacles, snail, etc. and small marine fishes, which also feed off of the smaller animals. The small animals and fish provide food for the snapper, grouper, and triggerfish and attract larger fish species such as king and Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, bonito sharks, lemon fish, dolphin and others, which in turn enhance the fishing opportunities for us! Marine biologists from the Research Center call this the food chain.

Do the Reefs affect the Shrimpers?

Of course, our reefs can provide an obstruction to a shrimp net pulled along the bottom. However, we exercise caution in selecting our reef sites and try and avoid areas regularly used by shrimpers. Many of our reef sites were selected in areas where existing obstructions already prevented shrimping activities. Prior to permitting a reef site, a public notice is released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and /or the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to solicit public comment regarding the reef site. Once permitted, the location of the reef site is published in the Notice to Mariners issued by the U.S. Coast Guard and included on the next edition of the NOAA nautical chart for that area. We attempt to 3 mark out reef areas with buoys; however, we have been frustrated over the number of buoys that disappear as a result of foul weather or large boats that illegally used them for mooring. Please do not tie up to these buoys – it is illegal and cost our organization a lot of money to maintain these buoys that aid fishermen in locating the reef site.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Tom Becker – Harrison County

Tim Knighten – Jackson County

Ralph Humphrey – Private Boat

Kenny Barhanovich – Charter Boat

Jay Trochesset – Commercial

David Andrews – Tourism

Robert Fishman – At Large

Alva Bennett – At Large

Darlene West – At Large

Officers:

President – Ralph Humphrey

Vice President – Tim Knighen

Treasurer – Alva Bennett

Secretary – Darlene West