Grab the skewer and stoke the grill. Shrimp start coming in again today.
The commercial trawling season is scheduled to open at 8 a.m., which means at least some quantities of the tasty local catch should arrive at the docks by evening. A S.C. Department of Natural Resources biologist said sample trawls brought in a fair quantity and some good-sized shrimp.
“Certainly we’ve seen some big shrimp. We’re there. I think we had a good spawn in the last moon phase. Let ’em rip,” said biologist Larry DeLancey.
As recently as a few weeks ago, the opening was expected to be delayed into June, because of stubbornly cooler waters than usual. Shrimp need relatively warmer water to grow.
Tommy Edwards, a Shem Creek shrimper who works from the dock behind The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene restaurant, prepped his boat Wednesday with modest expectations. But he does figure to bring back a catch, he said.
“We’re not looking for much. We figure we’ll be getting a little bit. We’ll give it our best shot,” he said.
Water temperature is one of the biggest factors in the spring white shrimp crop. The state usually opens the season from mid to late May. Last year’s dramatically warm winter produced a spring crop that grew so big so fast, the season was opened in mid April. In 2011, cold water delayed the opening well into June.
And the spring crop is no indication of how good the year will be. The 2012 spring bumper crop turned out to be the best of the year.
The summer brown shrimp never really showed up, and landings were little more than half what they were the year before. Then the fall shrimp came in below normal.
Right now, brown shrimp are spawning back in the creeks, DeLancey said. And the early signs are that they will be small. “We just don’t know,” he said, how the summer and fall crops will turn out.
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