The declaration of emergency, which established the season opening dates, followed a presentation of the latest biological and hydrological data compiled by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Marine Fisheries Division and public comment from shrimpers, members of the shrimp industry and other concerned citizens.
The Louisiana inshore shrimp season in Shrimp Management Zone 1 will open at 7:30 a.m. on May 18 except 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 open at 7:30 a.m. May 11. Zone 2 as well as that portion of the State's Outside Waters south of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line as described in R.S. 56:495 from the western shore of Freshwater Bayou at 92 degrees 18 minutes 33 seconds west longitude to the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island as delineated by the River Channel Buoy Line will open at 7:30 a.m. on May 11. Zone 3 will open at 7:30 a.m. on May 25.
With this action, all state inside and outside waters will be open to shrimping. Zone 1 includes state waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River including Breton and Chandeleur Sounds. Zone 2 comprises that portion of Louisiana's inside waters from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island. Zone 3 includes state waters from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Louisiana/Texas state line.
LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was given authority to close the season when biological and technical data indicate that significant numbers of small white shrimp have recruited into inshore waters or if law enforcement problems develop.
Development of LDWF management recommendations for spring inshore opening dates utilize criteria which project the date when a minimum of 50 percent of the inshore brown shrimp population sampled reach sizes of 100 count (per pound) or larger. Last year, Louisiana shrimp landings totaled 90.2 million pounds (all species combined/heads-on weight) and were valued at $133.5 million dockside.