Gulf shrimp season ends Monday
May 10, 2017 at 9:15 p.m.
Updated May 10, 2017 at 10:05 p.m.
The Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp season for both Texas and federal waters ends 30 minutes after sunset Monday, May 15.
The closure happens every year and typically will go until July 15, although the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have discretion in setting the reopening date based on sound biological data.
The data includes mean lengths of the shrimp and percent of shrimp in samples caught using a bag seine as well as ebb tidal flow.
The Texas closure applies to Gulf waters from the coast out 9 nautical miles.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced federal waters out to 200 nautical miles also will be closed to shrimping to conform to the Texas closure.
This year, officials hope the closure will give brown shrimp, which dominate the spring season, time to grow to 112 millimeters in length.
They were measured at 55 millimeters in length in April, said Mark Fisher, science director at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The average catch this season was 1,235 shrimp per hectare. One hectare is 2.47 acres. This is below the 20-year average of 1,319 shrimp per hectare.
Fisher said shrimp are less valuable today than they were 20 years ago.
"Shrimp prices are low because the market is dominated by imported, farm-raised shrimp.
Wild-caught shrimp supply about 10 percent of the U.S. consumption of shrimp. The rest is imported," he said.
The industry has also been affected by the high cost of marine diesel, he said.
Wesley Blevins, who owns Chunky Monkey Seafood in Seadrift, said this year the Gulf shrimp season was fair, but the price is dropping every day.