Federal officials predict a below-average brown shrimp season for the next year in Louisiana waters and federal waters off Louisiana and Texas.

NOAA Scientists annually release a prediction of brown shrimp catches based on monitoring juvenile population numbers, growth estimates and the environment.

Federal scientists predict 55 million pounds of brown shrimp will be harvested now through June 2014. That’s less than the historical 52-year average of 56.5 million pounds. Louisiana’s portion of that catch is expected to be about 29 million pounds and the Texas portion about 26 million pounds.

“Brown shrimp are important to the economy of Gulf Coast communities. They are popular among seafood consumers and as bait used by recreational anglers. We always like to see plenty of shrimp available in seafood markets and bait shops. But this year recruitment of shrimp larvae to the bays was late, which may impact their abundance.”                       - Roger Zimmerman, director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s Galveston Laboratory.

About 60 percent of the domestic shrimp harvest comes from the Gulf of Mexico. It looks like prices will be going up.