Shrimp season opens Tuesday

A section of state territorial waters in Zone 2 will open to shrimping at 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to a news release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

The department determined that white shrimp have reached marketable sizes in sufficient numbers in the area between Caillou Boca and the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island, the department stated. The area is seaward of Terrebonne Parish.

The opening dates for the 2013 spring inshore shrimp season will be considered by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at its May 2 meeting.

For nearly 40 years, Louisiana fisheries have been divided into three zones in order to manage them on a regional rather than a statewide basis.

The department website says that the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission sets the opening dates in different zones or sections of a zone based upon biological and technical data relative to shrimp populations. Shrimping seasons are opened when sampling indicates that a certain percentage of shrimp in that area reaches 100 shrimp per pound, which is considered the minimum marketable size.

Shrimpers sometimes complain when a section of a zone or an entire zone is open while other zones or sections are closed.

“If they would open all the areas together, it would be a lot better,” says Tony Dardar, a Lafourche Parish shrimper. “It hurts the people over there from making a second trip,” he said in regards to a large number of shrimpers leaving one area to go to another area that opens up. “Sometimes you notice this as early as the second day after the opening.”

Some local captains agree with that assessment but would not comment on the record for this story.

Shrimpers have historically resisted any further regulation of the industry which might provide that fishermen only fish inside their zones.

The only state outside waters remaining closed after the Tuesday opening will be west of the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel to the Freshwater Bayou Canal. The section remains off limits because there are still significant numbers of juvenile white shrimp in that area.

All remaining state outside waters will be open to shrimping.

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