Shrimp season looking good on opening day

MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) - As the sun rose over the Mississippi Sound, hundreds of boats, big and small, were ready to drop the nets. A short time later, elation set in. John Guidry talked about his first drag.

"45 minutes, and probably one of the best drags I've ever did in my life. Probably a good 50 pounds," Guidry exclaimed.

More boats were out this year and for good reason, according to Joe Jewell, the Director of Marine Fisheries for the DMR.

"You noticed this morning the wind has laid down and the seas are very calm, so that allows for the smaller fleet to be out this morning taking advantage of the shrimping season," Jewell explained.

One boat certainly took advantage. Jared Danos is the captain.

"The season is going pretty good so far. Probably got about 1,000 pounds that drag," said Danos.

While the opening of the shrimp season is always a special occasion for the fishermen and the folks who work for the Department of Marine Resources, it's also something else. It's history, our history.

"It's what people come down here for," said DMR's Melissa Scallan."It's generations of families that have shrimped these waters, and I think this is a great day for the coast and for all of Mississippi."

DMR patrol officers are busy on opening day, according to Chief Rusty Pittman.

"The guys will be checking the boats to make sure the captains have the right up to date license, checking for the size of the shrimp trawls, and also doing the turtle excluder device," said Pittman.

For the DMR, an agency plagued by a corruption scandal for the past 18 months, opening day may mean a new chapter can finally now be written. Jamie Miller is the Executive Director.

"This is what I hope the future is really about for the agency. That it's about telling these good stories about what the staff and the marine patrol do day to day," Miller said.

Judging by the first catches, a good story indeed.

While most of the shrimp crop will be taken in the first few weeks, the season will run through the end of December.

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