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Gulf Shrimping Season Closes May 15

A shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico that will need to pull in its nets for at least 60 days beginning Friday, May 15. Photo courtesy of the TPWD

Shrimping season in the Gulf of Mexico closes May 15 until the tentative reopening date of July 15, announced the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on May 12. The season closes a half-hour after sunset on Friday, based on outgoing tidal movements. Closure is usually determined by collected samples, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the TPWD changed its criteria.

“The closure is designed to allow escapement of shrimp out to the Gulf, where they can grow to a larger, more valuable size before they are vulnerable to harvest,” said Robin Riechers, director of the TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division. “The goal is to provide shrimp of a size that are more valuable for the shrimping industry while ensuring sustainable stocks in the future.”

State and federal waters will be closed on the same date. The TPWD closed shrimping to 9 nautical miles from the shoreline. Federal waters, which stretch 200 nautical miles from state waters, were closed by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The joint closures allow shrimp to leave bays and estuaries to spawn next year’s catch.

A final opening day will be determined by sampling the growth of shrimp populations through June.

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