Shrimp season successful so far

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A successful shrimp season on the Mississippi Gulf Coast has helped drive down prices to consumers, officials say.

Mike Brainard of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources said dockside selling prices were high when the season opened but have since come down, leading to some disappointment among fishermen.

“There’s so much shrimp on the docks, it’s driving prices down,” he said. “It’s a typical supply and demand thing.”

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Medium-sized shrimp were selling for $2.69 a pound this past Friday at Tony’s Seafood Market in Gulfport. Jumbo-sized shrimp, with around 12 in a pound, were selling for $4.50.

Michael Sevel, captain of the Pamela Ann, said state boats are landing an average of 900 pounds of shrimp a night.

“The boats that are working are doing pretty fair,” Sevel said. “People are working more and there’s definitely more shrimp out there.”

DMR reported 2.4 million pounds of shrimp were landed by state fishermen in June. The number is up from 1.3 million pounds last June.

Last year was a record-setting shrimp season across the country. The National Marine Fisheries Institute said U.S. shrimpers landed 10 percent more shrimp than the seasonal average from the years 2001 through 2004.

Industry advocacy group Wild American Shrimp Inc. said last year’s increase was the result of 2005’s hurricanes on coastal shrimp populations.

“There are several theories as to why hurricanes are so helpful to shrimp populations, but I’ve found that the worst hurricanes result in the best shrimp,” said Dennis Henderson, president of Wild American Shrimp.