On that date, a moratorium on the issuance of new commercial shrimping licenses in Tampa Bay was issued. This was an effort to protect Tampa Bay from the damaging effects of commercial shrimping and help to rebuild the environmental balance in the estuary. We at Ozello Shrimper remember fighting commercial shrimpers for space out on the flats, at times coming within feet of the passing boats dragging their chains.
Well, 18 years have passed since this law went into effect and the numbers of shrimpers have dwindled significantly, down to four (from six two years ago) authorized vessels divided among three total license holders in a total of two families. As a result, each year recreational shrimpers ask the same basic question when they see one of our commercial counterparts go by:
"Is that shrimp boat I saw out there legally allowed to shrimp?"
It's a fair question considering how long it has been since a new license has been issued and how few shrimpers are still out there.
To help you answer this question Ozello Shrimper is providing the vessel identification numbers for each of the boats that are authorized to operate in Tampa Bay during the 2011-2012 season. This information was provided to us by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission through a routine public records request. Each of these licenses is currently valid until June 30th, 2012 although they are most likely to be renewed.
If you are out shrimping, fishing or simply having a good time on the Tampa Bay waters and you see a shrimp boat, check to see if the markings on the boat match one of the vessel identification numbers listed above. If the boat you see does not have one of the above identification numbers, call Florida Fish and Wildlife to report illegal shrimping in Tampa Bay.
Report Wildlife Violations:
Cellular phone users, call *FWC or #FWC.