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).
Portions of the 2020 fall inshore shrimp season have been delayed as follows:
The portion of Shrimp Management Zone 1, known as the Biloxi Marsh, and the portion of Shrimp Management Zone 3, known as the Mermentau River, will be delayed. These portions of state inside waters, as described below, will open at 6:00 am, September 11, 2020:
- Biloxi Marsh - From a point at the intersection of the eastern shore of the MRGO and the Shell Beach Cut at 29 degrees 51 minutes 29.40seconds north latitude, 89 degrees 40 minutes 37.99 seconds west longitude; thence northerly to a point where Shell Beach Cut and the south shore of Lake Borgne intersect (29 degrees 52 minutes 00.35 seconds north latitude, 89 degrees 40 minutes 25.33 seconds west longitude); thence easterly and northerly following the southern shore of Lake Borgne and the western shore of the Biloxi Marsh to Pointe Aux Marchettes (29 degrees 59 minutes 26.87 seconds north latitude, 89 degrees 34 minutes 44.91 seconds west longitude); thence northeasterly to Malheureax Point (30 degrees 04 minutes 40.57 seconds north latitude, 89 degrees 28 minutes 46.59 seconds west longitude); thence southeasterly to a point on the western shore of Three-Mile Pass (30 degrees 03 minutes 00.00 seconds north latitude, 89 degrees 22 minutes 23.00 seconds west longitude); thence northeasterly to a point on Isle Au Pitre (30 degrees 09 minutes 20.50 seconds north latitude, 89 degrees 11 minutes 15.50 seconds west longitude), which is a point on the double–rig line as described in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2; thence southerly following the double rig line to where it intersects with the MRGO (29 degrees 40 minutes 40.11 seconds north latitude, 89 degrees 23 minutes 07.71 seconds west longitude); thence northwesterly along the eastern shore of the MRGO to the point of origin.
- Mermentau River - From a point on the shrimp inside/outside line and the western shore of the Mermentau River at 29 degrees 43 minutes 46.14 seconds north latitude, 93 degrees 00 minutes 40.50 seconds west longitude; thence northerly following the western shore of the Mermentau River to its intersection with Catfish Locks 29 degrees 52 minutes 47.31 seconds north latitude, 92 degrees 50 minutes 57.25 seconds west longitude; thence southeasterly following Catfish Locks to its intersection with the eastern shore of the Mermentau River (29 degrees 51 minutes 44.20 seconds north latitude, 92 degrees 50 minutes 52.98 seconds west longitude); thence southerly following the eastern shore of the Mermentau River to the point where it intersects the shrimp inside/outside line (29 degrees 43 minutes 46.33 seconds north latitude, 93 degrees 00 minutes 31.71 seconds west longitude); thence westerly along the shrimp inside/outside line to the point of origin.
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.