NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal biologists are predicting a brown shrimp season about 30 percent below average in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas and Louisiana.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday the western Gulf produces an average of 56.4 million pounds of shrimp a year. But this year, its forecast is for 39.2 million pounds: about 21.9 million caught off Louisiana and 17.3 million caught off Texas.
NOAA says record spring rains led to large amounts of fresh water in the estuaries where young shrimp grow. And it says levels of oxygen are still low in shallow coastal waters off Texas and western Louisiana.
Nearly two-thirds of all shrimp harvested in the United States come from the Gulf of Mexico, especially Texas and Louisiana. Brown shrimp make up about two-thirds of all shrimp caught off Texas and about one-fifth to two-fifths of those caught off Louisiana.