While water temperatures are rising across Louisiana’s coast, it appears the unusually high and prolonged levels in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, the other bayous and rivers flowing into coastal waters has delayed the growth of brown shrimp in these estuaries.

With these and other factors influencing the recruitment into and growth of brown shrimp in the state’s “inside” waters, the opening of spring inshore shrimp season will be extraordinarily late this year.

During Thursday’s Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the opening dates for this commercial and recreational spring season were set, to include:

  • A 6 a.m. May 20 opener for state inside waters from the eastern shore of South Pass west to the western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal, which includes the Barataria and Terrebonne basins;
  • A 6 a.m. May 27 openers in state inside waters from the Louisiana/Mississippi state line west to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River (the Pontchartrain Basin), and state inside waters from the western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal west to the Louisiana/Texas state line.

The seven-member LWFC based their votes on data from Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ biological surveys and test trawling samples. That data allows LDWF biologists to determine brown shrimp growth rates, and a projection of a “crossover” date when brown shrimp growth indicates the stock in each sample area indicates at least 50 percent of brown shrimp is at, or larger than 100 per pound.

The LDWF’s report also kept state “outside” waters closed from the Atchafalaya River to Freshwater Bayou.