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      DNR monitors local shrimp population

      Local shrimp population (Joe O'Neill/WCIV)

      By Sonya Stevenssstevens@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Three miles or more offshore. That is where you can shrimp right now, but starting next Monday at 8 a.m. you can shrimp from the shore.

      "We actually opened part of the waters a couple of weeks ago because there were shrimp out there," said Larry DeLancey, Supervisor of Crustacean Monitoring Program for the SC Department of Natural Resources. "We checked and they were spawning. Spawning levels looked really good."

      DNR not only checks spawning levels, but also takes the time to measure and weigh the shrimp for their records. The numbers were more impressive than a year ago thanks to the warmer winter temperatures.

      "It's been very warm early, shrimp are maturing. We saw maturing shrimp in March, which you'll see that in a warm year but it's just unusual, maybe one in ten years is like that," said DeLancey.

      Something else beneficial to the shrimp is rain, especially in the summer months.

      "The shrimp population seem to do better, and the blue crab, when they have adequate rainfall, just makes them move normally, just better production, more nutrients to wash down in the system. It's just a much better thing," said DeLancey.

      And the lack of rain can create a difficult outcome for the crustaceans.

      "If it's really salty, they go way up in the rivers and they get crowded and don't grow as well; they are all packed together," said DeLancey. "It takes them longer to move back down. They have further to go so there is more opportunity for fish to eat them."

      If the fish eat them first, that is less for us to enjoyand we all know that we love shrimp here in the Lowcountry.

      Most of the remaining waters will open for shrimping Monday at 8 a.m., but there are a few small spots that won't open until this summer. The season usually lasts until January.

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