BySarah Winkelmann|June 8, 2021 at 5:54 AM EDT - Updated June 8 at 8:08 AM
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Shrimp season opened Tuesday morning in waters off the Georgia coast.
The state Department of Natural Resources opened the commercial and recreational shrimp season at 8 a.m.
After a tough year in 2020 due to the pandemic, local shrimpers are eager to get their nets back in the water.
Along the Georgia coast, shrimping is not only an important industry but it’s a big part of family traditions for the region.
George Gale of Darien says he has been out on the boat shrimping with his dad and grandpa ever since he was seven years old. This year, for the first time, he is taking his daughter and son-in-law out for the season.
Gale says the weather has been perfect and he is very optimistic that this will be a great year on the water and back at the docks where he is hoping people remember to buy local this summer.
“The average shrimp stays on a boat for 2-3 days and stays in the market for 2-3 days. By the time you purchase the shrimp, it has been on ice for a week or so. The way we do it here, we can basically say our shrimp slept in the sea last night if you pick it up in the afternoon here, and that is what we do - the best product to the customers,” said George Gale, Georgia Shrimper.
With restaurants closed or limited capacity for much of last year, selling shrimp was difficult. So, shrimpers hope to rebound this year.
Georgia did receive $1.92 million in fishery relief from the Cares Act to help many of the shrimpers.
But despite some financial setbacks, shrimpers will be out in full force along the coast starting Tuesday. Commercial shrimp trawlers will be able to go up to three miles out from the shore, where federal management takes over. They can operate in state waters from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. In federally managed waters, they can operate around the clock.
Gale says they spent the night out on the water in order to get right to work as soon as the season opens at 8 a.m.
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