- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

HOUMA, La. (AP) - The fall shrimping season, which comes to a close on some state waters Monday evening, has been average for area fisherman.

“I’ve seen better seasons and I’ve seen worse seasons,” said Darren Martin, owner of Martin’s Fresh Shrimp in Chauvin.

Martin told The Courier (https://bit.ly/1xtH0wL ) a year with no tropical systems meant shrimpers in his area got off to a good start around September. Martin says cold fronts during November worked to push shrimp out of the interior marshes, thus reducing harvest numbers.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the fall shrimping season, which opened in August, would close at sunset Monday and will include “most state inside waters and in a portion of state outside waters.”

All state inside waters ranging from the Mississippi state line through Louisiana to the Texas state line are closed, except for a few exceptions east of the Mississippi River near Lake Pontchartrain. Most state outside waters will remain open, except portions west of the Atchafalaya River.

Now, Martin will be focused on outside waters positioned toward the Gulf.

“Whenever we can we get in the Gulf and stay busy,” he said.

Though Martin said fishing farther into the Gulf means higher fuel bills and storms can be hazardous to smaller boats.

The rough waters aren’t an issue for David Chauvin, who has a fleet of boats capable of braving the Gulf. He said those vessels will continue shrimping the open outside waters.

Chauvin, who owns Mariah Jade Shrimp Co. in Chauvin, and Bluewater Shrimp Co. and David Chauvin Seafood Co. in Dulac, said his fall inshore season is set to finish above average due to hustling on his captains’ part, pulling in good hauls.

“Every year is different,” Chauvin said. “This year we had cold snaps in the middle of November, which pushed a lot of shrimp out off the coast. Since the cold snaps, it’s done nothing but warm up. A lot of shrimp are starting to migrate back inward.”

Chauvin said he thinks Wildlife and Fisheries could have even extended the season into January due to the large size of shrimp his boats are still bringing in. But he said he knows that may not be a consensus around the entire Gulf and the closure will ensure a healthy crop when the season reopens.

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Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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