The shrimping season in Alabama’s open waters closes from 6:00 am, May 1st to 6:00 am, June 1st. There is no size restriction on the catching of shrimps for recreational purposes. However, there are certain restrictions on daily consumption, trawl size, and license for catching. These restrictions differ based on the purpose of shrimping. The Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources regulates shrimp harvesting in Alabama.
Types of Shrimps
There are three types of shrimps found in the waters of Alabama. These include white shrimps, pink shrimps, and brown shrimps. The hues are just a few shades apart, but one can easily tell the difference between the taste and size.
The peak season of these brown shrimp is from June to August. This species of shrimp is well known in the shrimp lovers circle for its bold and unique taste. They are the best choice of food for summer vacations and summer parties. In Alabama, this kind of shrimp is found in abundance.
The peak season of the Pink shrimps is from January to June. This kind of shrimp is scarcely available as compared to the other kinds. The pink shrimp is the largest of the Gulf Shrimp species and has great commercial importance.
The peak seasons of the white shrimps start in May and end in November. The white shrimps are larger than the brown ones. They have a softer texture and a mild taste as compared to the other two types of shrimps.
In Alabama, a boat license is a must for non-commercial shrimping. The non-residents must pay an amount equal to the residents to get a boat license. If you intend to catch the shrimps using a cast net, then a recreational saltwater fishing license is required in addition to the boat license.
In the case of commercial shrimping, a boat license is issued, which is non-transferable. Non-residents must pay an amount equal to that of the residents to get a permit for shrimp harvesting. The user using the trawler must have a license if he catches any marine species other than the shrimp. The shrimps or any other bycatch can only be sold to the Alabama seafood dealer unless the dealer has a seafood dealer license. The Marine Resources Division Office issues the licenses for harvesting.
There is no legal restriction on the size of the shrimps for both commercial and recreational shrimping. However, there is a restriction on the size of the trawl that you use for catching shrimps. The trawl used for recreational shrimping should not exceed 16 feet as measured along the main top line.
For commercial shrimping, the trawl size should not exceed 50 meters as measured along the top line, and only two trawls are allowed to be used at a time.
Also, there are no restrictions on the size of the cast net used for commercial or recreational shrimping.
Daily Consumption Limits
People catching shrimps for recreational purposes from an area open to commercial shrimping using a cast net or a boat are limited to a maximum of five-gallon shrimps with their heads intact per person per day. The maximum daily consumption limit in exclusive boat waters is one-gallon shrimps with their heads in place per boat per day.
Legal Methods and Tools for Catching Shrimps
The government approved methods or tools for catching shrimps in the waters open for harvesting include:
A shrimping cast net is a circular-shaped object covered with a net. There is a weight distributed around the circle. The cast net is thrown using hands to spread out in the air before it lands on to the target species. It is repeatedly tossed into the water and retrieved and effectively catches marine creatures like fish, shrimps, or crabs. The cast net can be thrown from the boat, piers, docks, and shores.
If you’re interested we went ahead and reviewed the best options on the market for catching shrimp with a cast net. You can see our review by clicking here.
The Seins net are typically between 6 and 8 feet in length. They have mesh netting borders on each end with a wood or fiberglass post. They can’t be operated single-handedly and require one man at each end of the post. They are tugged near to the shore or through low tide areas.
A trawl net is a funnel-shaped net used to catch shrimps, shellfish, cod, scallops, etc. It involves being pulled through the water behind the boat. They have a closed tail so that shrimps or any other marine creature cannot escape. This method is used for both commercial and recreational purposes. The boat that is used for trawling is called a trawler.
Best Bait for Shrimps
The best bait for shrimp is anything that it can eat. Anything that can be thrown into the river using the cast net. The cast net is thrown after a while, giving bait the time to attract as many shrimps as possible. Fish meal, flour, cat meal, chicken feed, and cornmeal are a few examples of the best bait balls.
Famous Places for Shrimping
The famous places to go for shrimping in Alabama include Mobile’s Bay, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Dauphin Island, Bayou La Batre, etc.
The Shrimp industry generates up to 305,000 pounds of stock, and the sale of the live shrimp is around $1 million. The most popular shrimp dishes in Alabama are firecracker shrimp, grilled shrimp, breakfast shrimp, and the classic south shrimp.
Alabama is home to different kinds of shrimp species. These species are harvested for both recreational and commercial purposes. However, there are certain limitations on the licensing, minimum size, and daily uptake of the shrimps imposed by the Commissioner of Conservation and Marine resources. When shrimping in Alabama, make sure to follow the legal methods and tools to ensure a happy shrimping experience!