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Brown shirmp, Farfantepenaeus aztecus. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Brown shrimp season starts with high prices in Louisiana

  (UNITED STATES, 5/30/2014)

The spring inshore brown shrimp season began in Louisiana, a late start due to the long, cold winter.

This delay means a shortened time for shrimping but this is not bad news for boat captains because mollusc prices are high, the local daily newspaper The Times-Picayune reported.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) informed that only a portion of the state, extending from the Mississippi River to the Freshwater Bayou Canal in West Vermilion Parish, has been opened for shrimping and that on 2 June, fisherman will be able to catch shrimp in the rest of the state, excluding areas that remain closed to commercial activity because of the the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill that took place in 2010. 

According to a sector report, national shrimp prices grew as much as 35 per cent because of the fact that the bacterial infection, known as early mortality syndrome (EMS), ravaged the shrimp stocks of Thailand and China.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated in April that the average price boat captains received for jumbo-sized shrimp in the northern Gulf states was USD 9.25 per pound, compared to USD 7.55 in 2013.

“We’ll probably know farther into the week what it [the catch] is looking like,” said Julie Falgout, seafood industry liaison for Louisiana SeaGrant at LSU, which monitors the state’s commercial fisheries.

Sources from the sector stated that it is still too early to judge whether this year's catch will be more or less plentiful than last year's but several observers noted some encouraging signs.

Soon after the season began, LDWF Enforcement Division agents cited numerous fishermen for allegedly fishing in the BP oil spill emergency commercial fishing closure zone.

The Department informed that these agents seized and returned the shrimp taken to the water since they were considered a public health risk to the consuming public.

Violating the emergency fishing closure carries an up to a USD 750 fine and 60 days in jail.


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