GA DNR: 2021 shrimp season a success
TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia’s commercial and recreational food shrimp harvest season has officially come to an end.
The season ended earlier than last year but millions of pounds of shrimp were still collected off the coast.
The opening and closing of Georgia’s shrimp season depends on data collected. This year, it opened on June 8 and closed on Dec. 31.
This season, there were 2.3 million pounds of shrimp collected, which is about 12 million in dockside value. Those numbers are down slightly from last year but still up from the five year average.
Even with a shorter season, Georgia DNR says the lower shrimp abundance doesn’t mean there is a long-term issue.
Each season, DNR’s trolling vessel plays a large role in deciding exactly when it’s time to close for the season by collecting samples of shrimp and finfish at 36 sites along the Georgia coast each month.
“And we measure the lengths of the shrimp and figure out how much it takes to make one pound, how many shrimp with heads on makes a pound, so, by law, we can open it when it is 45 shrimp or fewer and, by law, we close it when it’s about 50 shrimp. If you think about it, the more shrimp that you have the smaller they are to make a pound, so, the fewer shrimp means they are bigger and that is what we are looking for is that number to drop below 45 to open the season,” said Tyler Jones, Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The trolling vessel will still be out on the water each month collecting samples to determine when they can open the season back up, which could be as early as May 15, 2022. That is only for the Georgia territorial waters, which is from the shoreline to three miles out, so you can still get fresh Georgia shrimp but just farther out from federal waters.
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