Shortly, we will be seeing small shrimp run about in the creek as they come in to spawn. They lay their eggs around the mouth of the creek and they will float in with the tides and currents. They will grow in the protected creek for about 3 months at a rate of about 2 inches a month before they head out and back towards deeper water. When Kayaking around – in Jarvis Creek on Hilton Head we will see the small shrimp run along the shallow waters. This is also a great time to see birds wadding along the waters edge catching their meal.
Shrimp season officially under way in SC
“The first day coming out is always a blessing,” said Toomer, adding the day’s haul was about 1,000 pounds of white shrimp. “It turned out better than I anticipated.”
Because of an unusually mild winter, this year’s shrimp season arrived about two weeks earlier than normal. Last year, the restriction on provisional trawling areas wasn’t lifted until June 22.
Mel Bell, DNR director of fisheries management, said his agency decides when to open the season based on water temperature, citing its effects on the spawning behavior of shrimp.
“We’ve had accelerated warming of our coastal waters,” he explained, adding that those waters haven’t been as warm as they are this time of year since 1974.
The DNR will make the general trawl zone available only after monitoring hauls at statewide landings in the coming weeks to see how the spawn is progressing.
Bell added that shrimp are more commercially valuable than any other seafood caught in South Carolina, saying shrimpers sold more than $7 million of the shellfish dockside in 2011.
William Gay of Gay Fish Co. in northern Beaufort County said he was glad this year’s haul was under way.
“We’ve got four boats on the water right now,” he said Monday afternoon. “It would surprise me if we didn’t do well today.”