Opening of 2021 shrimp season could be delayed, says CMR

Low salinity levels and low water temperatures mean the start of the 2021 shrimp season could be pushed back a few weeks.
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 1:50 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It looks like coast shrimpers will have to be a little more patient before they can drop their nets in the Mississippi Sound this summer.

Rainy weather during the last two months has caused salinity levels and lower water temperatures in our local waters, meaning it could push the start of the 2021 shrimp season back a few weeks.

Normally, shrimp season begins during the first or second week of June.

“With brown shrimp, two of the factors that influence growth are water temperature and salinity, and we’re looking for a salinity of ten parts per thousand or greater for maximum growth, and a temp of 68 degrees. We did not see that in April of this year,” said Jason Saucier, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources’ shrimp and crab bureau director.

That data was presented to the Commission on Marine Resources Tuesday at their meeting.

“Once these rains stop - if they stop and the salinity starts to rise - obviously, the temperatures are starting to come up, we should see some better growth and some more shrimp show up in our samples,” said Rick Burris, DMR deputy director of marine fisheries.

They say once the shrimp sample size gets up to 68 per pound and the water temperatures and salinity levels go back up, then the shrimp season will open. However, you may see some boats out on the water sooner but they will be heading west. That’s because Louisiana’s shrimp season opens May 24.

“If anybody knows, shrimp prices have been lower than they were 30 years ago. So, hopefully, our shrimpers can get a fair price. It’s still great value for our consumers to get out and purchase fresh gulf shrimp,” said Ryan Bradley, Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United director.

To read DMR’s Shrimping the Sound 2021 guide for the spring season, click here.

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