Gulf shrimp season is over as of this Friday, May 15. It is scheduled to resume in mid-July.
"The closure is designed to allow these small shrimp to grow to a larger, more valuable size before they are vulnerable to harvest," said Robin Riechers, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coastal Fisheries Division science and policy director. "The goal is to achieve optimum benefits for the shrimping industry while providing proper management to protect the shrimp."
So what does this mean?
Well, not a whole lot if you aren't a shrimp aficionado. Shrimp, unlike some seafood, can be frozen and thawed easily, making it available year-round at a fairly consistent price. And because most shrimp used in middle-of-the-road restaurants is white shrimp imported from farms instead of harvested from our own waters, it's a good bet that you're eating frozen, foreign shrimp most of the time anyway -- unless you're hitting up a good seafood joint.
What it does mean is that you'll have to wait until at least July 15 to go down to the little fish shacks in Kemah and grab yourself some truly fresh Gulf brown shrimp, straight off the shrimping boats. The brown shrimp is markedly different from the standard white shrimp in its firmness and slightly briny flavor, making it the perfect shrimp to fry up and stick in a poor boy or throw on the grill.
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In the meantime, the Louisiana shrimp season opened this Monday to a bleak market that's been hit with heavy inflation and foreign imports. So instead of eating the shrimp scampi at Red Lobster or whatever the Joe's Crab Shack marketing team has come up with, lend a hand to our neighbors to the east and grab some fresh Louisiana shrimp when you see it for sale here.