Shrimp Season Holds Promise with Lower Fuel Costs and Average CatchesBy Rhonda Miller | Published 19 Jun 2012 06:11pm |
Shrimping in Mississippi is showing signs of improvement after a string of catastrophes. Three weeks into the 2012 season, MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports shrimpers are cautiously optimistic.
At Ocean Springs Harbor, shrimper Frank Parker scoops ice into a cooler of shrimp for three women who stopped by his boat. Parker sells 10 percent of his catch to seafood processors and 90 percent directly to the public off the back of his boat.
"Over the last decade, the ones that are hard-headed or the ones that were stuck in the industry, we really don’t want to do anything else. We find every angle we can to stay in the business, such as selling the shrimp off our boats. That’s something I’ve really concentrated a lot of my time, a lot of my business into advertising, and selling my own seafood. It really gives me a little bit of edge on my profit margin."
Traci Floyd of the Department of Marine Resources said landings, which are the number of shrimp arriving at Mississippi docks, reached about two million pounds during the first two weeks of the season.
"The reports we’ve received from the fishermen and from the landings we’ve received, so far, show an average season as far as abundance, and we opened with some good-sized shrimp, so, so far, so good."
The seafood industry took a beating from Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill and the Mississippi River floods. And there’s stiff competition from less expensive imported seafood.
Steve Bosarge is a member of the state Commission on Marine Resources and a commercial fisherman.
"One of the good things, the price of diesel fuel, of course, the price of oil's come down, so the price of fuel’s come down some. That'll help. The shrimp are a little larger, therefore, it makes it easier for these guys to sell to the public, to get a little better price for their product. It’s still too early to tell what the season’s gonna be. Let’s just hope it continues to be good enough to sustain the fleet that we have left."
On opening day of the Mississippi shrimp season, 210 boats were on the water. That’s 48 more boats than last year.
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