The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has extended the fall inshore shrimp season in that portion of Shrimp Management Zone 1 extending north of the south shore of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, including Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne until further notice.
The department is also reminding shrimpers that the fall shrimp season in the remainder of Zone 1 and all of Zones 2 and 3 will close Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005 at official sunset except in the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double-rig line (LA R.S.56:495.1.(A)2), which shall remain open until 6 a.m., March 31, 2006.
The fall shrimp season opening and closing dates were fixed by LDWF Secretary Dwight Landreneau in late July for a portion of Zone 2 and for remaining state inside waters by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in early August. However, the commission has provided the secretary with authority to change the closing dates of the 2005 Fall Shrimp Season if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so.
Current LDWF trip ticket data has indicated that significant quantities of marketable size shrimp remain in those waters affected by the season extension and this action should provide shrimpers with additional economic opportunities without adverse impacts to the shrimp resource.
Shrimpers are also reminded of the statutory provision that removes the 100 count per pound minimum possession size on white shrimp taken or possessed between Oct. 15 and through the third Monday in December of each year. Following Dec. 19, the minimum possession limit of 100 count per pound on white shrimp taken or possessed onboard a vessel will become effective and the minimum count size will be strictly enforced.
According to preliminary LDWF commercial landings statistics, Louisiana shrimp landings through September totaled approximately 68.2 million pounds (all species combined/heads-off weight). Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, sampling conducted by LDWF Marine Fisheries Division biologists have indicated the presence of high white shrimp population levels throughout many of the states estuarine basins. Additionally, salinity increases resulting from low river stages and rainfall levels have provided these shrimp with greater utilization of habitats found in the upper reaches of these estuaries. However, due to high fuel prices and low shrimp dockside values in combination with the devastating hurricane impacts sustained by the commercial shrimp industry, fishing effort levels have significantly declined and landings remain approximately 25 million pounds below levels reported at this time last year.
EDITORS: For more information, contact Martin Bourgeois at 225-765-2401 or