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May 21, 2007

South Carolina waters open to commercial shrimpers May 23

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources will open state waters to commercial shrimp trawling 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 23. Special provisional areas were opened on May 8, accounting for the availability of fresh local shrimp earlier.

The decision to open the season comes after biologists with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sample state waters and determine that an adequate number of roe shrimp have spawned.

According to Mel Bell, DNR's Director of Office of Fisheries Management, "Sampling this spring by ourSampling shrimp Marine Resources Division has noted fair to good quantities of spawners, aided by a mild winter temperatures.  It appeared with warming temperatures in late March that we would see spawning early this year, but the cold spells and winds in April slowed the process greatly. With the large tides of last week, we finally saw evidence of significant shrimp spawning activity.  Projected spring landings may be somewhat less than the totals in 2006, when trawlers harvested over 400,000 pounds of shrimp."

Three seasons define the commercial shrimp calendar. The first, white roe shrimp season, opens 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 23. The white roe shrimp season generates the most value for fishing effort. The brown shrimp season typically occurs during the summer months, and the larger fall white shrimp season, composed of offspring from the spring roe crop, carries out the remainder of the three seasons in the late summer and ends in winter.

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