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Shrimpers report 'decent' start to season

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD 
 A shrimp boat is framed in the pavilion on Lighthouse Pier in Biloxi. Monday marks the start of the 2016 shrimp season.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD A shrimp boat is framed in the pavilion on Lighthouse Pier in Biloxi. Monday marks the start of the 2016 shrimp season.

BILOXI -- More than 250 boats filled the Mississippi Sound before daylight Monday, waiting for the start of this year's shrimp season.

Officials with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources said fishermen they talked to reported good catches on opening day.

"The fishermen that braved the weather reported decent catches of 50-60 (medium) and 60-70 (small) brown shrimp with a good number of 16-20 (large) white shrimp mixed in," said Rick Burris, director of DMR's Shrimp and Crab Bureau.

"We were unable to perform our routine aerial vessel survey due to the tropical storm that currently is in the Gulf," he added. "However, we were able to get out on the water and estimate about 255 shrimp vessels in the Mississippi Sound, with the majority working south of Deer Island."

Burris said there could be more boats in the water in the next couple of days as the weather improves.

DMR announced last week that shrimp season would begin June 6.

The season opens in state waters when the agency's sampling confirms shrimp have reached the required legal size of 68-count per pound.

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