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State DNR extends shrimping season

POSTED: December 26, 2011 5:14 p.m.

State Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams has announced that Georgia’s food shrimp harvest season will be extended beyond Dec. 31. The extension may continue through Feb. 29, 2012 if biological and environmental conditions remain stable.

Monthly research surveys will continue to be conducted to monitor conditions and adjust the closing date as needed. Trawlers may continue to harvest shrimp in the Atlantic Ocean eastward of the sound-beach boundary. Individuals who use a cast net or a beach seine may also continue to harvest food shrimp.

“December scientific surveys indicated shrimp abundance along the coast is within normal levels compared to long-term averages,” said Coastal Resources Division marine biologist Jim Page. “Shrimp size remains somewhat mixed but overall marketable grade shrimp are being located throughout coastal waters.  These factors, along with current stable environmental conditions and ongoing consumer demand for fresh, domestic shrimp, led to the recommendation to extend the food shrimp harvest season.”

The DNR has extended the food shrimp season every year since 1978, except for 1983, 1989, and 2000 when severely cold weather in November or December caused water temperatures to drop to lethal levels for white shrimp.  Conditions thus far in 2011 have been favorable for survival of over-wintering white shrimp. Water temperatures and salinities of Georgia’s estuaries are within normal ranges when compared to long-term averages.

The decision to extend the food shrimp season was made in consultation with members of the Shrimp Advisory Panel and can be altered if emergency circumstances warrant.

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