First day of shrimping season

First day of shrimping season

DARIEN, Ga. (WTOC) - Wednesday was a big day out on Georgia waters, as shrimp boats headed out for the start of shrimp season.

Darrell Gale and his crew hit the Darien River Tuesday night and had an early morning for the start of shrimp harvest season. Gale said he had a good catch, but it could have been better.

The captain caught more small fish than he would have liked, but still ended up catching about 1,000 pounds of shrimp. However, that’s 2,000 pounds less than last year’s season opening.

“They waited a little long to open the beaches and the smaller shrimps came out. Well...you don’t get as much profit with the smaller shrimps,” Gale said.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources decided to open state waters to commercial and recreational shrimpers today based off a monitoring survey of Georgia shrimp.

“We can look at their size and their abundance, and we can tell something about the health of the population,” DNR Marine Biologist Eddie Leonard said.

DNR said the survey showed the female shrimp needed more time to spawn before they opened the season, which is why this year was later than 2019, but it’s still around the same time as years past.

Gale said even just a week or two later can impact local shrimp boat captains.

“The biggest problem is all the out-of-state boats came to actually fish, which they buy a license to fish here of course," he said. “All the out-of-state boats came and they’re basically taking our stock away.”

DNR said shrimp season is looking average this year, so Gale is hopeful for more successful catches.

Until then, he and his crew will get a good night’s rest and hit the water again Thursday morning.

“It’s a labor of love, more-so than anything else.”

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.