Commissioner Mark Williams has announced that Georgia's food shrimp harvest season will close at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 31, 2012. Food shrimp season automatically closes on December 31 unless extended by action of the Commissioner of Natural Resources
This closure includes all food shrimp harvesting activities, including commercial trawling, commercial and recreational food shrimp cast netting, and shrimp seining on the beaches. Anglers and commercial bait shrimp dealers can still harvest shrimp for use as bait.
“Although December water temperatures have been above normal, our coast wide trawl survey showed shrimp abundance, especially marketable-size food shrimp, is below the long-term average. Therefore, based on our data and input from the Shrimp Advisory Panel, we recommended to Commissioner Williams that the food shrimp harvest season close at the end of the month,” explained Jim Page, marine biologist with the Coastal Resources Division.
“It’s very uncommon for our Shrimp Advisory Panel to reach such a clear consensus on season openings and closures,” said Patrick Geer, chief of marine fisheries. “However, given the poor catches observed the last two months, the members felt strongly that extending the season was not prudent. Given the results of our independent trawl survey, the department was in full agreement with allowing the season to close at the end of December.”