Georgia DNR extends food shrimp season

BRUNSWICK, GA (WTOC) - Georgia's food shrimp harvest season will be extended beyond Dec. 31, the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources Commission Mark Williams announced Wednesday.

The extension may continue through Feb. 29, 2012 if biological and environmental conditions remain stable, according to a DNR news release.

Research will be conducted each month to monitor conditions and adjust the season's closing date.

Trawlers may continue to harvest shrimp in the Atlantic Ocean eastward of the sound-beach boundary. Individuals who use a cast net or a beach seine may also continue to harvest food shrimp, the release said.

"We'll have an opportunity to catch some of the shrimp instead of letting them go offshore and south to Florida. We might as well benefit from them than the people in Florida," said Pat Matthews, owner of Lazaretta Packing Co.

December's shrimp population along the coast is within normal levels compared to long-term averages, but shrimp size is mixed, according to the DNR.

The DNR has extended the food shrimp season every year since 1978, except for 1983, 1989, and 2000 when severely cold weather in November or December caused water temperatures to drop to levels that cause white shrimp to die off.

For more information on the extension of food shrimp season, call the Coastal Resources Division office at 912.264.7218.

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