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Friday, February 25, 2011

Food for Thought

This week, I’ve spent a large amount of time looking through the general laws of our state, and I came across a law from 1942 regulating the size of shrimp that may be caught.  Apparently, catching teeny tiny shrimp used to be against the law:

“Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Mississippi, that it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to take, catch, and have in their possession any sound, bay or sea shrimp of a size weighing in the raw state less than one pound to each forty shrimp.  The Mississippi sea food commission may, by ordinance or order spread upon its official minutes, permit the possession at any time not of not more than ten pounds of sound, bay or sea shrimp, of a size smaller than above fixed for use by fisherman as bait.”

I don’t know if I can imagine shrimp small enough that 40 of them wouldn’t even weigh a pound.  The penalty for breaking this law?

“Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction to be fined not less than ten dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars for each offense.”

I’m not sure if this law was ever repealed, but I bet it sure made fishermen think twice about their shrimp bounties back then.  I can't help but think of popcorn shrimp (which I absolutely love) and wonder if forty of them meet the one-pound requirement.  My guess is that they do.  Either that or the law was repealed.  

But what if it wasn't?  It could mean that I, along with all the other popcorn-shrimp lovers of the world, have been eating black-market shrimp!  How about that for living dangerously?

Source: General Laws of Mississippi, 1942. Chapter 278, House Bill No. 517.

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