Brown shrimp season looking good early

The Department of Marine Resources reports that although bad weather kept some vessels in port for the opening of brown shrimp season, nice hauls were brought up with the expectation of better harvests this evening.

Only 212 shrimping vessels were observed in Mississippi waters, even less than the 230 that were counted on June 25, when Mississippi waters were opened to shrimping south of the Intracoastal Waterway.

DMR reports most of the vessels, about 150, were east of the Gulfport Ship Channel spread out to Pascagoula. However, a group of 62 vessels were active in the western sound around Cat Island. The annual aerial boat count was cancelled by Civil Air Patrol due to inclement flight conditions.

Small catches of nice brown shrimp (36/40s and 40/50s) mixed with a few 16/20 white shrimp were reportedly caught intermittently throughout the Mississippi Sound.

“Many shrimpers were looking forward to shrimping tonight as brown shrimp are nocturnal and harvests tend to be better at night. The shrimp population movement in response to tonight’s full moon may also be beneficial,” says Traci Floyd, director of the DMR’s Shrimp and Crab Bureau.

Shrimp season shall close at midnight Dec. 31, 2009, except south of the Intracoastal Waterway. In addition, all state waters shall close to shrimping activities except live-bait shrimping at midnight, April 30, 2010.