BILOXI, Miss. — Mississippi’s Department of Marine Resources says it may have to increase the minimum size for speckled trout to let the species rebuild within three to five years.

The Commission on Marine Resources is considering an increase of two inches, to a 15-inch limit, WLOX-TV ( reports.

“If we don’t do anything, we’re going to fish them out — we’re going to have a yield increase and then it’s going to be gone, department scientist Paul Mickle told the board recently.

The proposed regulations are aimed at cutting the harvest in half and increasing the number of fish old enough to reproduce from the current 10 percent to the 20 or 30 percent considered sustainable.

A 15-inch limit would mean no catch for all but the best anglers, commission Chairman Richard Gollott said.

“You might as well close the season. … The good fishermen might catch a few fish, but the average person is not going to catch any fish,” he said.

He said he’s leaning toward a 15-inch minimum, “but let’s see what happens before the next commission meeting.”

The commission’s next meeting is Oct. 18.

Member Mark Havard said the board needs to do whatever it takes to stabilize the species. “And the science says a 15 inch fish is the route we need to take,” he said.

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