BRUNSWICK — Georgia’s food-shrimp harvest season will be extended until 6:15 p.m. Jan. 15, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams said.
Commercial food-shrimp trawlers may continue to operate in waters eastward of the sound-beach boundary currently 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 department typically extends food-shrimp season beyond the Dec. 31 closing date unless environmental conditions, such as abnormally cold weather or lower-than-normal shrimp abundance, makes such an extension unadvisable. Thus far, water temperatures and salinities in Georgia’s estuaries are within normal ranges when compared to long-term averages.
The decision to extend the food shrimp season was made in consultation with members of the Shrimp Advisory Panel and can be altered if emergency circumstances warrant.
The number of working trawlers in 2014 has been similar to recent years, though license sales remain down 44 percent from the 1979-2014 average of 575. Thirty-five commercial cast-net licenses have been sold in 2014, well below the allowable limit of 200 licenses.
Department records indicate the ex-vessel value of Georgia shrimp is high this year, averaging $5.66 per pound, nearly $1 per pound higher than last year and $2.25 higher than the 5-year average.
For more information, call 912-264-7218.