Shrimp fishermen in Texas waters should be aware of two extremely important factors: law enforcement and seismic surveying. When the shrimping season reopens in Texas 30 minutes after sunset on July 15, both Texas and federal waters will open to shrimp trawling. The shrimp fishery is closed annually off Texas to allow brown shrimp to reach a larger and more valuable size and to prevent waste of brown shrimp that might otherwise be discarded because of their small size.
The opening dates of the Texas closure are based on the results of biological sampling by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). When the shrimping season opens, both state and federal law enforcement will begin boarding boats to look for Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and also to see if they are installed properly. Shrimp boats coming from Louisiana where TED regulations are not enforced in state waters are expected to install them properly for use in Texas waters.
This year, shrimp boats should be aware of two seismic surveys being conducted continuously in the Galveston area during July. From July 15-31, the MV Iron Cat will be conducting a seismic survey offshore southern Galveston Island. The survey vessel will tow an air gun and streamer array but will not deploy seafloor cables. In addition, the MV Ms. Grace will be working 7.5 miles east of High Island with an air gun approximately 20 feet behind the boat. Operations are currently moving west to east from the western tip of Bolivar Peninsula.
Sea turtle patrols will end on the Upper Texas Coast on July 14 but tourists and residents are asked to watch for hatchlings that might be emerging from previously undiscovered nests. Hatchlings should be protected while a call is made to1-866-TURTLE-5 to report them.