BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — The state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has voted to open inshore fall shrimp season on Aug. 18.
The agency monitors the growth of larvae and samples the size of the shrimp, factors that play into the decision on when to reopen coastal waters to shrimpers.
Alan Matherne, Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter Coastal, Fisheries and Outreach specialist for Terrebonne, Lafourche and Assumption parishes, tells The Courier (http://bit.ly/1vkKYHd ) the opening date is when state biologists project 50 percent of white shrimp will be marketable size, or about 100 per pound.
Fisheries spokesman Ashley Roth said the department is required to stagger the opening because of legal provisions that restrict shrimping in daylight hours.
Previous shrimp seasons have opened at sunrise, but shrimpers complained morning openings gave them only a few hours of good shrimping before the hot sun drove shrimp deeper into the water column. The evening opening should give shrimpers better fishing hours, allowing them to fish through the night.
The fall shrimp season is long, typically opening in mid-August and lasting through December. It's also when shrimpers catch white shrimp, which can fetch a better price.
Preliminary statistics provided by NOAA Fisheries Service indicate that about 17.7 million pounds of shrimp were landed in Louisiana from January through June of this year.
The state recently opened some inshore waters that had been closed since the BP Oil Spill; however there are still closures tied to the spill which can be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill.
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com