Shrimpers Will Get Another Chance With Opening of SeasonBy Rhonda Miller | Published 15 May 2012 05:32pm |
Shrimp season will open soon in Mississippi waters. After Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill and the Mississippi River flooding, MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports fishermen and state officials are just hoping for a normal season.
Shrimpers face continuing challenges, like high fuel prices, competition from imported seafood and rumors of deformed shrimp since the oil spill. The director of the shrimp and crab bureau for the state Department of Marine Resources, Traci Floyd, is predicting an average season.
"The shrimp we have seen in our samples have been beautiful shrimp. We have not seen any deformed shrimp in our samples."
She says last year, 10 million pounds of shrimp came into Mississippi docks. That’s about the same as a couple of the better years after Hurricane Katrina.
But commercial shrimper Steve Bosarge, a member of the state Commission on Marine Resources, says some shrimp counted at the docks is from outside Mississippi waters.
"Our landings are up, or average, but that’s shrimp landed. That's not shrimp caught in Mississippi. So the guys that are actually fishing in Mississippi and catching shrimp in Mississippi, the last two years have been tough. Tough in that there weren’t very many shrimp and the shrimp were small. That affects the price, so you have to catch a lot more."
Mississippi has 544 commercial shrimpers who live in the state. Floyd says that’s about half the number in the state 10 years ago.
"Shrimping is very, very important to our culture and our economy here on the coast. We love shrimp. So we regret to see that, but we’re hopeful that our seafood industry will remain a vibrant part of the coast."
State officials say shrimp are almost the legal size, so fishermen may soon get the green light. Mississippi shrimp season typically opens around the first of June.
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