Shrimp have been hard to come by this season - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Shrimp have been hard to come by this season

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The 2013 shrimp season has been a disappointment to those who make a living off the catch.

"It's more luck of the draw instead of a consistent wave," Shrimper Edward Danny Ross said. "Usually fishermen who know how to fish consistently bring in catch, nice amounts. And this year it's like you win the lottery if you get any amount."

"Every day we are used to processing 1,000 to 1,500 boxes. A box is 100 pounds, so 100,000 to 150,000 pounds a day," M&M Assistant Plant Manager Timothy McLendon said. "We are lucky now if we do 40,000 pounds. Really, with the size of our factory, it's hard to even run it on that."

During an average season, big shrimp boats will go out for two or three days and bring in 80 to 100 boxes of shrimp. Now they are only bringing in about eight or nine boxes.

"I can't just rely on Mississippi, I have to go elsewhere to work, too," Ross said. "I have licenses for five other states, but I usually stay home when I can. It's a dream to work right here in your own backyard."

The low catch is forcing many others to also take their boats elsewhere.

"You take a two third cut in your pay," Ross said. "My crew, they suffer. They don't want to be away from their house to make money they can make at McDonalds."

The bad season has also been a gamble for the processors.

"With the price of shrimp right now, you can lose a lot of money overnight," McClendon said. "So you have to be very cautious of what you do and how you buy shrimp."

Low catches also mean high prices for those who want Gulf shrimp. Depending on the size, a pound of Gulf shrimp can cost up to $12.50.

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