D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Gulf Coast is in the midst of a weekend long celebration of its long, rich seafood heritage. The festivities will be capped off Sunday afternoon in cherished tradition where dozens of brightly decorated shrimp boats line up in procession for the annual Blessing of the Fleet in Biloxi.
In the meantime, seafood processors are starting to get an idea of what the harvest from this earlier than usual Mississippi shrimp season will look like.
When Mississippi shrimp began rolling into Gollot's Seafood this week, the owners of the seafood processing plant couldn't have been happier.
"We love always processing Mississippi shrimp," said Arny Gollot, III. "They are indeed the best out there. Not to put a bad flavor on Louisiana or Texas or Alabama or anyone else Mississippi have something special about them. They are the best in Gulf."
Gollot said shrimp coming out of Mississippi waters are beautiful. The bulk have had a count between 80 and 100. There's been a little bit of jumbo shrimp. Gollot says so far there's little and there's big but there doesn't seem to be much in between and he's not sure why.
"There's always fluctuations year to year. Can't really say with any certainty why middle sized shrimp are missing right now," Gollot said. "But there has been a little bit of a shortage of the midsizers for sure. There's obviously going to be a void in what's available on the market and that has an effect on some of your prices."
Because smaller shrimp bring lower prices, Gollot said shrimpers are feeling the strain.
"They just discuss the sizes. Smaller size shrimp. Unfortunately, that's a little more difficult for them because fuel prices are still kind of high and the smaller size shrimp are obviously a little cheaper," Gollot said. "That makes it harder on those guys and they'd had a difficult time for years because of fuel prices but those guys always seem to find a way to make it work. "
The Gollots say they've been concerned freshwater from the Mississippi River is causing shrimp to migrate. They say that makes shrimp more vulnerable to predators and harder to find.