A surge of freshwater runoff brought on by heavy spring rains could cause problems for Galveston Bay shrimp and oyster harvesters this season, according to new predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Scientists say the influx of freshwater pushed many young shrimp out of the bay earlier in their lifecycle than usual in search of favorable salinity levels, possibly leading to smaller shrimp. Higher freshwater levels also wiped out many oyster reefs. Unlike shrimp, oysters thrive in higher salinity levels and are not mobile.

NOAA predicts the 2015-16 catch of brown shrimp could be about 30 percent below the historical average of 25.7 million pounds. The prediction is the lowest for the area since the 1980s.

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