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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

May 19, 2015Provisional Areas opened to commercial shrimp trawlers

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) opened eight provisional trawl areas within state waters to commercial trawlers at 8 a.m., May 19.

These special areas typically open to the state's commercial fleet in years when DNR biologists deem the local population of overwintering white shrimp to be large enough that limited harvest within the provisional areas will not jeopardize the potential for the next year's white shrimp crops. White shrimp begin spawning in late April, with the bulk of the spawning occurring in mid to late May.

The state's remaining waters for legal trawling (the General Trawl Zone) will stay closed to commercial shrimping until after DNR biologists have determined that the peak spawning period of white shrimp has occurred.

“With the assistance of several commercial shrimp trawlers we will continuing monitoring spawning progress this week,” said Mel Bell, Director of SCDNR's Office of Fisheries Management. “If things continue to look good, we hope to be able to set the date soon for the opening of the entire General Trawl Zone. Things are setting up so far for a decent white shrimp roe crop and a productive spawn which will help us this coming fall.”

Three seasons define the state's commercial shrimp fishery calendar. The first, white roe shrimp season, opens in all state waters where trawling is permitted. The white roe shrimp season generates the most value for fishing effort. Brown shrimp season typically occurs during the summer months. The larger fall white shrimp season, composed of offspring from the spring roe crop, makes up the last of the three seasons in the late summer and ends in winter.

More information about the provisional areas is available in DNR's 2015-2016 Summary of Commercial Trawling Laws document (Pdf file).

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