Licensed fishermen may only harvest shrimp during open shrimp seasons (unless permitted to harvest live bait under a Special Bait Dealer's Permit).
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission sets shrimp seasons for Louisiana’s state waters by area according to LDWF’s recommendations based on environmental conditions and the growth rates, distribution, and abundance of shrimp. They also consider input from the Shrimp Task Force and other stakeholders.
In general, shrimp seasons by area are:
- Inside waters: open when enough market-sized shrimp are available in these waters for harvest. The spring/brown shrimp season generally runs May to July. The fall/white shrimp season is generally open mid-August to mid-December; some waters stay open into January.
- Outside waters: year-round, except from mid or late December to April or May in certain areas to protect small white shrimp and allow them to grow to market size. The Commission can close these waters at other times of the year if necessary.
- Federal waters off Louisiana: year-round (managed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries).
Spring Inshore Shrimp Season
All Louisiana inshore waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line open at 6 am on Monday, May 24, 2021.
The portion of state outside waters between the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island westward to the western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal open at 6 am on May 10, 2021.
This area is defined as follows:
- The eastern boundary line originates at the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island as delineated by the red buoy line at 29 degrees 22 minutes 14.93 seconds north latitude, -91 degrees 22 minutes 58.92 seconds west longitude and ends at a point on the three-mile line as described in R.S. 56:495(A) at 29 degrees 18 minutes 33.89 seconds north latitude, -91 degrees 26 minutes 16.05 seconds west longitude. The western boundary line originates on the western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal at 29 degrees 32 minutes 03.00 seconds north latitude, -92 degrees 18 minutes 33.00 seconds west longitude and ends at a point on the three-mile line as described in R.S. 56:495(A) at 29 degrees 29 minutes 02.27 seconds north latitude, -92 degrees 19 minutes 34.60 seconds west longitude.
How do we determine shrimp seasons?
LDWF biologists and managers recommend shrimp seasons based on a shrimp species’ annual life cycles and growth rates, which are heavily influenced by environmental conditions. LDWF biologists continually monitor shrimp populations and environmental conditions in Louisiana’s marshes, coastal lakes, and bays. At hundreds of sample locations, they tow trawls through the water, count and identify the species they catch, measure a random selection of the shrimp catch, and record the data. They also record water conductivity, temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen levels. They then compile the data and plug it into mathematical models. These models help biologists project when the majority of the shrimp population within each the state’s major estuarine basins will reach market size. The Commission uses these projections to determine when and where to open and close the shrimp fishery. Adjusting seasons in response to the conditions that influence shrimp populations helps fishermen have more productive shrimping trips.