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State opens food-shrimp season
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BRUNSWICK  — Georgia waters are now open for commercial and recreational harvest of food shrimp.  
As of Tuesday, commercial-food shrimp trawlers can operate in Georgia’s territorial waters open to power-drawn trawls. Commercial and recreational cast-netters, as well as those using a beach seine, can harvest food shrimp from waters open to the use of these gears.   
“The abundance of white shrimp in our most recent coast-wide trawl survey 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.”
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 and turtle-excluder devices 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.  
Trawler operators also are reminded of the 1,000-foot boating-safety zone along the beaches of Tybee, Sea, St. Simons and Jekyll islands is in effect through Sept. 30. Motorized craft — recreational and commercial, including personal watercraft — are prohibited in these zones during this period.
GADNR also has announced the creation of a new web-based reporting system at that fishermen may utilize to report the capture of Asian tiger shrimp.  
Call 912-264-7218 for information on the opening of the 2013 food-shrimp harvest season or for information on Asian tiger shrimp.  Call 727-824-5312 for information on federal requirements for BRDs and TEDs in shrimp trawls.

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