With thousands of miles of coastal marshes, estuaries, and shallow bays teeming with nutrients, Louisiana has ample habitat to nurture abundant shrimp populations. These populations support one of the nation’s most productive commercial shrimp fisheries and a major industry in many of the state’s coastal communities. White and Brown shrimp are the two primary shrimp species harvested in Louisiana.
Louisiana fishermen have been harvesting shrimp commercially since the early 19th century, using simple haul seines and cast nets. Over the years, the shrimp industry has evolved into the competitive commercial and recreational fishery it is today, with thousands of fishermen using the latest in sophisticated gear and boats to harvest millions of pounds of shrimp every year.
A number of people continue to depend on Louisiana’s shrimp resource for their livelihoods, from harvesters to dealers and processors and on to wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants. The State of Louisiana carefully manages the our shrimp resource, not only to sustain the shrimp stocks and their ecosystem, but also to sustain the local economies and coastal communities that depend on it and preserve the cultural heritage of this important fishery.
Louisiana’s shrimp management program is firmly rooted in science—biologists and managers determine shrimping seasons based on shrimp’s annual life cycles and growth rates, which are heavily influenced by environmental conditions such as salinity and temperature. As a result, biologists continually monitor these conditions and shrimp populations in coastal marshes and bays. Using the most recent scientific data, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists project when the majority of the white shrimp population within the state’s seven major estuarine basins will reach market size. Managers use these projections to determine when to open the season. This science-based, adaptive system has allowed managers to increase the shrimp yields and economic opportunities for the shrimp industry by adjusting seasons in response to the environmental conditions that influence the shrimp population.