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Shrimp Season Underway In Mississippi

By Evelina Burnett | Published 11 Jun 2013 11:15pm | comments
The Capt Thanh on opening day. Photo courtesy MS Dept of Marine Resources

The 2013 shrimp season is under way in Mississippi waters. Thanh Truong pulls up the skimmer trawls on his shrimp boat, the Captain Thanh, about a mile southeast of the Gulfport harbor. He says his catch on the first day of Mississippi’s shrimp season hasn’t been great. A good 40-minute trawl would usually bring up two baskets of shrimp. This year, he's seeing just half baskets. 

This year’s turnout of 250 boats is up about 20 percent from last year, but it’s way down from where the fleet was a decade ago. Mississippi Department of Marine Resources' Marine Fisheries Director Dale Diaz says in 2001, more than a thousand shrimp boats plied these waters. But a lot has happened since then: Katrina and the oil spill, as well as the economic hits of high fuel prices and competition from imports. 

The small catch that Captain Truong described may be a factor of heavy rains this April and May, which lowered the salinity in the bays were baby shrimp grow. Diaz says ideal conditions for shrimp growth are a warm, dry year. This year has been warm and wet. 

But some of the catch has to do with location and luck. About 10 miles offshore, near Cat Island, another shrimper reported a relatively good haul. Last year, Mississippi shrimpers caught 13 million pounds of shrimp with a dockside value of $24 million.


The Capt Thanh on opening day. Photo courtesy MS Dept of Marine Resources



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