BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This year’s shrimp season may have started out slow, but the haul in Mississippi waters is getting better. With just two months to go in the season, that’s good news for shrimpers' wallets and for seafood lovers.
Shrimper Brian Chester has his regular customers but surprise walk-ups help make the budget even better.
“This helps out a lot to be able to sell because the factories don’t give you a lot of money per pound,” he said. “We try to do the best as we can right here to the public. You know, they get fresh seafood.”
And that makes customer Todd Madden happy.
“We come down here, got us some fresh shrimp. We’re going to make us some shrimp po-boys for dinner tonight,” Madden said. “I cooked for a few years and I just know fresh, local ingredients just make the world of a difference.”
And fresh has been in good supply.
“The season's actually been good this year,” Chester said. “It's better than last year for sure. And hopefully, it’ll continue on for the next couple of months.”
“There wasn’t a lot of rain this year. Last year we had tons and tons of rain. And I think that’s what killed the season last year.”
The count, he said, is running about 12 shrimp per pound. Price depends on the boat, but it’s anywhere from $3.50 a pound and up.
“We're probably making a little profit, but, it’s hard you know, because you’ve got six months that you don't shrimp,” Chester said. “You got to make it for the whole year, you know. As long as we make enough to cover costs to make a few dollars, that’s all we're hoping for, you know. We don’t want to go negative, that’s all.”
The customers are seeing the results of a good season.
“Like on the way over here, the guy said at the beginning of the season, they caught medium shrimp, but coming to the end of it, they’re catching big jumbo shrimp,” Madden said. “So, they're nice and healthy. That’s always a good sign too.”
The recreational and commercial shrimp season north of the Intracoastal Waterway will close at midnight on Dec. 31.
In areas south of the Intracoastal Waterway and west of the Gulfport Ship Channel, shrimp season will close at midnight on April 30.