2008 Miss. shrimp season off to average start

Published 3:47 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The state Department of Marine Resources says average size shrimp and catch volumes are being reported with the opening of the 2008 shrimp season.

The season opened Tuesday.

DMR’s marine fisheries staff conducted on the water interviews and surveys and reported 308 commercial and recreational shrimp boats on opening day. That’s about equal to last year’s count of 300 and 2006’s count of 306.

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As of June 17, the number of commercial resident shrimp licenses sold was 404, up 48 from last year. The number of out-of-state commercial shrimp licenses sold was 144, up 24 from 2007.

DMR said it found a majority of working boats were congregated inside of Horn Island along the Intracoastal Waterway and the west end of Petit Bois Island, where they were catching fair to good numbers of 40/50-count brown shrimp. Other boats were working around Cat Island and West Ship Island.

Traci Floyd, director of DRM’s Shrimp and Crab Bureau, said that with the high cost of fuel, “many fishermen decided to wait until they had more information on how the season would be.”

“Those that did head out onto the waters agreed that location was key to success,” Floyd said. “Great reports were coming from the area inside Horn Island along the Intracoastal Waterway.”