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Texas shrimp fishery to close from May 15 to around July 15

A shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico during the shrimping season. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department closes shrimp season for 45-90 days each year, depending on studies of shrimp size and emigration from bays and estuaries to the Gulf.

The annual closing of the shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Mexico begins 30 minutes after official sunset, local time, on May 15. Depending on biological sampling, the projected reopening will happen sometime around July 15.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announces the closure date based on the shrimp’s cycle of reproduction. Around mid-may, brown shrimp in Texas bays and estuaries reach a mean size of 90 millimeters and begin emigrating into the Gulf during maximum duration ebb tides.

When the shrimp reach a mean size of 112 millimeters and maximum ebb tides occur, the fishery is reopened to harvesting. Both state and federal waters close and open on the same days. Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico begin 9 nautical miles off the Texas coastline.

Marine shrimp, including brown shrimp, are the most popular seafood in the United States. Commercial shrimpers harvest almost 32 million pounds of shrimp valued at $588 million off the shores of the Texas Gulf Coast each year. Almost 80 percent of that catch comes from coastal bays.

Shrimp begin as eggs, hatch into larva, and morph into protozoea, mysis, and post-larva stages before becoming juvenile shrimp. The average size of an adult brown shrimp is 3-5 inches long. They can grow up to 9 inches. Shrimp that do not become dinner for either humans or underwater creatures live for about two years.

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