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May 19, 2009

South Carolina waters open to commercial shrimpers May 21

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources will open remaining state waters to commercial shrimp trawling 8 a.m., May 21. Special provisional areas within state waters were opened on May 7, accounting for the availability of fresh local shrimp earlier.

The decision to open the shrimp trawl 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 our Marine Resources Division has noted fair to good quantities of spawners, aided by a mild winter temperatures. Warmer than normal temperatures in late April and early May enhanced recent spawning. There are still good quantities of immature shrimp which should spawn later, and could improve the fall crop, provided normal levels of rainfall occur this summer. With the large tides of last week, we finally saw evidence of significant shrimp spawning activity. Projected spring landings should be at least as good as last year, when trawlers harvested over 300,000 pounds of shrimp."

Three seasons define the state’s commercial shrimp fishery calendar. The first, white roe shrimp season, opens 8 a.m., May 21 in all state waters where trawling is permitted. 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.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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