The freshest of Wild Georgia Shrimp will soon be available again.
Shrimp season gets underway at 8 a.m. Tuesday for people who seek out the crustaceans in the three miles from shore that constitute state waters.
“The white shrimp abundance in our May coast-wide trawl survey is still a concern following the extreme winter freeze,” Carolyn Belcher, chief of Marine Fisheries for the state Department of Natural Resources, said in a statement. “However, the maturity of the shrimp that we have seen is progressing. Therefore, opening on June 19 will allow for much of the shrimp stock to complete the spawning process. The recommendation to open on June 19 was made after taking into consideration our May survey results and input received from our Shrimp Advisory Panel.”
While commercial fishing in federal waters is open 24 hours, harvest of shrimp with power-drawn trawls in state waters is limited to the period between 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
DNR also reminds folks that trawlers must use bycatch reduction devices and turtle excluder devices regardless of whether they are in state or federal waters, and to keep an eye out for the 1,000-foot boating safety zone along the beaches of Jekyll and St. Simons islands that is in effect between May 1 and Sept. 30.
State waters off Brunswick shut down for shrimp harvesting Jan. 15, and federal waters closed down Jan. 24 because of the particularly cold weather in late December and on into the new year. While federal waters are typically open year-round, during this period of cold weather, a survey conducted showed a 96-98 percent reduction in shrimp abundance.
Fishery closures are typically allowed when temperatures drop below around 48 degrees Fahrenheit for seven days or more, or there is a shrimp abundance reduction of more than 80 percent. Federal waters reopened for shrimp harvesting in May.