Georgia DNR to Close Food Shrimp Season
Commissioner Mark Williams has announced that Georgia’s food shrimp harvest season will close 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25, 2012. This closure includes all food shrimp harvesting activities, including commercial trawling, commercial and recreational food shrimp cast netting, and shrimp seining on the beaches. Anglers and commercial bait shrimp dealers can still harvest shrimp for use as bait.
The 2011-12 shrimp season was extended through January 25, 2012 based on a recommendation from the Coastal Resources Division. This recommendation was based on the result of December shrimp population surveys and input from the Shrimp Advisory Panel, which consists of recreational and commercial shrimp fishers.
Although January water temperatures have been above normal, Department surveys indicate shrimp abundance is below long-term levels. “Results of the December survey indicated a sufficient abundance of marketable shrimp still remained in coastal waters, and thus the season was extended into January. Results of the January 2012 survey indicated that shrimp abundance had declined below long-term averages. Therefore, in an effort to protect the remaining shrimp within our estuaries, we have decided to close state waters at this time to the harvest of food shrimp,” said Jim Page, marine biologist with the Coastal Resources Division.
“Ultimately, we have to balance the protection of over-wintering shrimp with the desires of fishers to have additional time added to the season. It is our belief that the extended season provided fishers additional opportunities to continue harvesting food shrimp without negatively impacting the over-wintering shrimp population. However, recent declines in abundance as observed in January’s surveys suggest the time has come to close state waters to the harvest of food shrimp and protect the remaining shrimp within our estuaries,” Page said.
For more information on the closing of the food shrimp season, please contact the Coastal Resources Division office at (912) 264-7218 or visit the web site: www.CoastalGaDNR.org