Another inshore shrimp season for 2018 will open in August after the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission voted two opening dates for the state’s “inside” waters during its meeting Thursday in New Orleans.
Although the push was for a single opening day for the fall inshore shrimp season, the LWFC’s seven members took information from Department of Wildlife and Fisheries marine biological staff and will open the state’s westernmost waters two weeks later than the rest of the state.
The opening dates include:
- A 6 p.m. Aug. 13 kickoff for waters from the Louisiana-Mississippi line west to the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel;
- A 6 a.m. Aug. 13 time and date for waters Atchafalaya River Ship Channel west to the western shore of Freshwater Bayou;
- And, a 6 a.m., Aug. 27 opening for waters from Freshwater Bayou west to the Louisiana-Texas line.
State biologists work under a model to estimate when shrimp in these estuaries will be large enough to make 100 to the pound, or 100 count.
Since the fall season’s biggest catch is white shrimp, most shrimpers and shrimp buyers prefer larger-sized shrimp, and while there are numbers of white shrimp in the western marshes and Calcasieu Lake, the “crossover” date — the day when the shrimp reach marketable sizes — turned out to be later than the other major shrimp producing waters, places like the Terrebonne, Barataria and Pontchartrain basins.
LWFC’s unanimous seven-member vote also gave LDWF secretary Jack Montoucet the authority to “delay or advance these opening dates if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so, and; to close any portion of Louisiana inside or outside waters to protect small juvenile white shrimp.”