Shrimp season set to open in Georgia’s coastal waters

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Shrimp season is set to open this week in waters off the Georgia coast.

The commercial and recreational shrimp season opens at 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Data collected by the agency’s coastal resources division shows strong numbers of shrimp in coastal waters, said Eddie Leonard, a marine biologist with the division who monitors shrimp populations.

“Data also indicate that spawning is occurring and will likely be winding down by the time the season opens, and that average individual shrimp sizes are sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Georgia law,” Leonard said in a news release.

Commercial shrimp trawlers will be able to go up to 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) out from the shore, where federal management takes over. They can operate in state waters from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. In federally managed waters, they can operate around the clock.

Trawlers must use a certified bycatch reduction device and turtle excluder. They can also use cast and seine nets to catch food shrimp.

Recreational shrimpers must have a state fishing license and Saltwater Information Program permit.

All motorized boats must stay 1,000 feet (305 meters) from the shores of Jekyll, St. Simons, Sea and Tybee islands from May 1 to Sept. 30.

During last year’s shrimp season, about 200 licensed trawlers pulled in roughly 3.3 million pounds (1.5 million kilograms) of shrimp.