For Stone County fishermen DMR project to enhance cobia at offshore fishing reefs is a boon. DMR said that it will release 8000 cobia at two offshore fishing reefs. The Cobia enhancement project is the result of a public-private partnership between the DMR and a commercial fish farm in Stone County.
The cobia enhancement project needs raising of thousands of fish in the commercial aqua culture facility in Stone County. Biologist, Chuck Weirich, who is overseeing this round-the-clock cobia raising, said that cobia is fast growing fish and can reach up to 10 to 12 pounds in one year.
He added that watching the fish growing is a challenge. Shelley Nicholls doesn’t have to worry about the young Cobia not eating. They devour their daily diet of special formula fish food. A re-circulating system keeps the salt water clean by collecting and removing the mostly nitrogen waste product from the thousands of fish.
Offshore fishermen will enjoy the future benefit of this Cobia release. The fish should reach legal size in about three years. Michael Brainard, with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, said that when you do any kind of a stocking program, you’re increasing the number of fish in the water. So, obviously it gives more opportunities for our recreational fishermen to catch Cobia, which is a highly prized species on the coast.