Things are still looking good for the Kemp’s ridley nesting season on Texas beaches. As of today (May 7), 48 nests have been found compared with 28 a year ago. In response to several dead sea turtles being found on the beaches and requests from the STRP Gulf Office, both federal and state law enforcement have gone into action boarding shrimp boats checking for Turtle Excluder Devices. The Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp season for both state and federal waters will close from 30 minutes after sunset on Thursday, May 15, until an unspecified date in July. The closing and opening date is based on samples collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife Coastal Fisheries Division using trawls, bag seines and information gathered from the shrimping industry.
The closure is designed to allow small shrimp to grow to a larger more valuable size before they are vulnerable to harvest, according to Dr. Larry McKinney, TPWD coastal fisheries division director.
The sea turtles and every other creature that dies in shrimp trawls as untargeted species will benefit greatly from the closure.