Georgia shrimping season to open June 10

By Steve Patrick, Managing editor of digital content, spatrick@news4jax.com
Published On: Jun 03 2014 04:23:37 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 03 2014 05:00:03 PM EDT
Shrimp boats docked
BRUNSWICK, Ga. -

Georgia waters will open for commercial and recreational harvest of food shrimp on June 10, Georgia's Division of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams has announced Tuesday.

At 8 a.m. that morning commercial food shrimp trawlers can operate in Georgia’s territorial waters open to power-drawn trawls. Commercial and recreational cast netters, as well as persons using a beach seine, can harvest food shrimp from waters open to the use of these gears.

“The abundance of white shrimp in our most recent coast-wide trawl survey is comparable to historic averages for the month of May,” said Jim Page, the Coastal Resources Division biologist supervising monthly shrimp sampling. “The majority of the shrimp are large enough to be desirable to recreational harvesters and valuable to commercial fishermen. Though abundance and count size is similar to previous years, it appears the spawning period for shrimp was slightly delayed this year as a result of cooler than normal water temperatures. However, after taking into consideration our survey results and input from our Shrimp Advisory Panel, we recommended opening on June 10.”

Commercial harvest of food shrimp with power-drawn trawls in state waters is allowed from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Federal waters (beyond 3 miles offshore) are open for food shrimp harvest 24 hours a day. Trawler operators must use certified Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) and Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) while operating in both state and federal waters. Trawl fishermen should watch for further advisories on BRD and TED requirements issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Trawler operators are also reminded of the 1,000-foot “Boating Safety Zone” along the beaches of Tybee Island, Sea Island, St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island is in effect from May 1 through September 30. Motorized craft, both recreational and commercial, and including personal watercraft, are prohibited in these zones during this period.

GADNR is asking the public who capture Asian tiger shrimp to continue reporting such sightings at CoastalGaDNR.org/TigerShrimp so that information on these non-indigenous species may be collected. “Many fishermen have provided us with good information through this web-based reporting system. We need to gather information on this non-native species and learn more about the potential impacts it may have on our native shrimp population,” said CRD biologist Todd Mathes.

Contact Coastal Resources Division at 912-264-7218 for information on the opening of the 2014 food shrimp harvest season or for information on Asian tiger shrimp. Contact NMFS Protected Resources Division at 727-824-5312 for information on federal requirements for BRDs and TEDs in shrimp trawls.

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