South Carolina wildlife officials have declared the white shrimp season open for commercial trawling beginning June 1 following a cool spring and evidence the majority of white shrimp in coastal waters have reproduced.
Start time is 8 a.m.
“This is five days later than 2021, but spawning has been just a little slower to progress compared with the past couple of years,” said Mel Bell, director of the S.C. Department of Natural Resource’s Office of Fisheries Management.
Opening day for shrimp season is set each year based on the conditions of the shrimp; sampling is done in late spring by biologists onboard commercial and agency vessels.
“One of the things they’re looking for is evidence that a majority of female white shrimp have already spawned at least once before the season starts,” DNR’s announcement said.
“Opening the season too soon — and allowing trawlers to catch females that have not had an opportunity to spawn — could reduce the size of the fall white shrimp crop, which are the offspring of the spring white shrimp,” it added.
Shrimping season in South Carolina typically starts in spring with the opening of a small subset of waters, called provisional areas, that allow shrimpers to take advantage of the harvest offshore while still protecting the majority of shrimp that have yet to spawn, DNR said. South Carolina’s provisional areas opened in April.
South Carolina’s commercial shrimp calendar has historically had three peak periods: in the spring it favors white shrimp; the summer months are typically defined by a peak in brown shrimp; in the fall and winter, shrimpers bring in a second crop of white shrimp, which are the offspring of the spring roe shrimp, DNR said.
The trawling season in Georgia waters will open on the same date.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.