Georgia’s commercial and recreational food shrimp season will open in the state’s territorial waters at 8 a.m. June 20, 2023, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced recently.
DNR Commissioner Mark Williams signed an administrative order today setting the opening date based on recommendations of DNR’s Coastal Resources Division (CRD), which manages marine fisheries, and an advisory panel comprised of commercial and recreational shrimpers, independent scientists, and other stakeholders.
“Data collected during CRD’s Ecological Monitoring Trawl Survey indicate that shrimp populations may benefit from a short delay in the opening of Georgia’s coastal state waters to the harvest of food shrimp,” explained Eddie Leonard, a CRD marine biologist who oversees shrimp data collection. “Key measurements including the number of shrimp per pound and advanced female reproductive status for May 2023 indicate that the fishery could benefit from waiting until the latter half of June to open the season.”
With the opening, commercial shrimp trawlers can operate in the state’s territorial waters from shore to three nautical miles out to sea, where waters become federally managed. Trawlers may operate in state waters from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Trawlers may operate 24 hours per day in federally managed waters. All trawlers are required to use a certified bycatch reduction device and turtle excluder device in both state and federal waters.
Commercial and recreational license holders can also use cast and seine nets to harvest food shrimp. Recreational harvesters must obtain a Georgia fishing license and free Saltwater Information Program permit. License information is available at www.CoastalGaDNR.org/RecreationalFishing and can be purchased at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com.
CRD reminds the public that all motorized vessels—both recreational and commercials–must be at least 1,000 feet from the shores of Jekyll, St. Simons, Sea, and Tybee islands from May 1 to Sept. 30. This restriction includes personal watercraft.