Few shrimp boats head to open waters

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By David Elliott – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The BP oil disaster forced officials to close much of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing. Slowly but surely more and more areas are reopening.

Last Friday, Mississippi waters north of the barrier islands opened to commercial and recreational fishing. But only a handful of shrimpers appear to be taking advantage of the opportunity.

"This weekend 15 to 20 shrimpers were out working," said Joe Jewell with the Department of Marine Resources.

"I think the shrimp are there. I think the shrimpers are making more money from BP," observed Sean Desporte, referencing the Vessels of Opportunity program.

Sean Desporte, from Biloxi's Desporte and Sons Seafood, is hoping to see some Mississippi shrimp.

"We have to get some local seafood back," Desporte said.

It was a big weekend for commercial fishing when it comes to flounder.

"We got in 700 pounds of flounder Monday morning," said Desporte.

The family also stocked up on some red fish.

Meanwhile, Joe Jewell said state agencies will continue to conduct rigorous testing of all fish caught in Mississippi waters.

"Our primary concern is to make sure the seafood is safe to eat."

For now, all commercial and recreational crab and oyster fishing will remain off limits in Mississippi waters.

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