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DNR announces opening of food-shrimp season

BRUNSWICK — Georgia Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams has announced that Georgia waters will open for commercial and recreational harvest of food shrimp at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, according to a news release.
Effective that date, commercial food-shrimp trawlers can operate in Georgia’s territorial waters open to power-drawn trawls.
Commercial and recreational cast-netters, as well as persons using a beach seine, can harvest food shrimp from waters open to the use of these gears.
“The abundance and size of white shrimp in Georgia’s coastal waters is comparable to historic averages for the month of May,” said Jim Page, the Coastal Resources Division biologist supervising monthly shrimp sampling. “The majority of the shrimp are large enough to be desirable to recreational harvesters and valuable to commercial fishermen. The recommendation to open on June 16 was made based on the results of our coast-wide shrimp population survey during May and input from the Shrimp Advisory Panel.”
Commercial harvest of food shrimp with power-drawn trawls in state waters is allowed from
30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Federal waters (beyond
3 miles offshore) are open for food-shrimp harvest
24 hours a day.
Trawler operators must use certified bycatch-reduction devices (BRDs) and turtle-excluder devices (TEDs) while operating in both state and federal waters.
Trawl fishermen should watch for further advisories on BRD and TED requirements issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
Trawler operators are also reminded of the 1,000-foot “Boating Safety Zone” along the beaches of Tybee Island, Sea Island, St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island in effect through Sept. 30. Motorized vessels, both recreational and commercial and including personal watercraft, are prohibited in these zones during this period.
Contact Coastal Resources Division at 912-264-7218 for more information on the opening of the 2015 food shrimp harvest season.
Contact NMFS Protected Resources Division at 727-824-5312 for information on federal requirements for BRDs and TEDs in shrimp trawls.

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