Officials prepare for shrimping season

By NICOLE DOW – ndow@sunherald.com

BILOXI

State officials will prepare for June’s shrimping season by testing brown shrimp for petroleum hydrocarbons starting today, said Bill Richardson, fisheries biologist for the state Department of Marine Resources.

The shrimp will be tested twice a week and the results are expected to be returned the week later, Richardson said. This will be the first time shrimp are tested for petroleum hydrocarbons.

William Walker, DMR’s executive director, was given the authority last week to open the shrimping season once test trawls yield 68 shrimp per pound, the Associated Press reported.

Richardson said that test trawls yielded 110 shrimp per pound on Monday. Legal size for shrimp is 100 mm, or about 4 inches. The shrimp were approximately 70 to 80 mm.

Richardson expects the shrimp season to open the second week of June.

“It’s looking good,” he said. “It’s a lot better than last year.”

Last year, heavy rains and flooding resulted in a low crop.

“Prices were horrible last year,” Richardson said.

This year, he expects prices to improve, especially with the high demand for shrimp because of the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Richardson said there has been no evidence of oil in shrimp nets or water samples.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/05/24/2206255/officials-prepare-for-shrimping.html#ixzz0owoQR4vr

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