Release Date: 12/08/2006

Shrimpers are reminded that the fall inshore shrimp season in all Louisiana shrimp management zones will close at official sunset on Tuesday, Dec.19, 2006, except in the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double-rig line (LA R.S.56:495.1.(A)2), which shall remain open to shrimping until 6 a.m. March 31, 2007.  The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission established these closing dates at its August 3 meeting.

Zone 1 includes state waters from the Mississippi-Louisiana state line to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River.  Zone 2 includes state waters from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island and Zone 3 extends from the western boundary of Zone 2 to the Louisiana-Texas state line.

Catastrophic losses to the shrimp fleet following hurricanes Katrina and Rita have significantly decreased the number of participating vessels and fishing trips taken in the Louisiana shrimp fishery.  Despite these reductions in fishing effort, LDWF Marine Fisheries Division biologists have indicated that 2006 shrimp landings are well above the average of recent years and may potentially rival the previous annual record of 93.8 million pounds reported in 2000.  According to preliminary LDWF trip ticket data, Louisiana shrimp landings through August of this year total approximately 57.4 million pounds (heads-off weight/all species combined).  In comparison, this preliminary total represents an increase of 15.8 million pounds over the corresponding pre-hurricanes period of last year.

Biologists have indicated that high shrimp production in January was attributed to larger populations of white shrimp over-wintering in shallow offshore waters.  Brown shrimp landings in May and June were influenced by a series of factors.  Several periods of strong southerly winds and high tides in March and April created favorable mechanisms for the transport of post-larval shrimp into the estuaries.  A mild winter, low river stages and rainfall levels resulted in higher than normal water temperatures and salinities; environmental factors favorable for brown shrimp development and growth.  These same conditions were also conducive to the rapid growth of over-wintering white shrimp re-entering inshore waters in early spring. The size and value of white shrimp landings in May and June were exceptionally high which suggests the success of management actions designed to protect these shrimp from harvest as they over-winter during late winter and early spring in portions of state outside waters.   Likewise, white shrimp landings in August reached near record levels and were also influenced by the existence of favorable environmental conditions conducive to high survival and rapid growth.

For more information, contact Martin Bourgeois at 225-765-2401 or mbourgeois@wlf.louisiana.gov.