Fishermen say temporary closure of shrimping waters probably won - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Fishermen say temporary closure of shrimping waters probably won't help

Shrimp boats at St. Michael's Fuel & Dock in Biloxi will likely stay in port through the rest of brown shrimp season. (Photo source: WLOX) Shrimp boats at St. Michael's Fuel & Dock in Biloxi will likely stay in port through the rest of brown shrimp season. (Photo source: WLOX)
MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) -

The closure of state waters to shrimping north of the Intracoastal Waterway begins at 6 a.m. Thursday. Although that doesn't mean the season is over, many fishermen have already given up.

The shrimp boats remain docked at St. Michael's Fuel & Ice in Biloxi. The conveyor belts that are usually filled with shrimp are still and empty. The warehouse is filled with unused ice, and the containers that should be filled with shrimp are empty.

John Franklin, a fourth generation fisherman from Biloxi, is already finished for the season. He said the temporary closure of some waters to shrimping by the Department of Marine Resources won't help. It's too little, too late.

“What we all brought in, that's the crop,” Franklin said. “We killed most of the crop. They're almost gone. What little ones is left, we're going to scoop ‘em up. After that, what are we going to do?”

Since shrimp season started June 3, small shrimp and low prices have kept most fishermen in port.

Chris Lyons, dock manager at St. Michael's, said 90 to 100 percent of the fleets along the Coast remain in dock.

“Everything put together has really knocked ‘em down pretty good, and it's made it tough for the fishermen,” Lyons said. “They're not real fired up. The incentive's not there to hurry up and get back out there and try to catch some more shrimp. It's just not a whole lot of enthusiasm right now.”

The DMR will keep the waters closed until sampling determines the shrimp count has reached 68 a pound. This is the first time since 2008 that it has closed waters during the season.

“I think they're probably doing the right thing,” Lyons added. “They are trying to protect the small white shrimp right now that are getting caught in the nets. That's our next crop come middle of August. We're hoping for a good white shrimp season.”

It's little comfort for Franklin.

“My life's fell apart since this has happened,” Franklin said. “I've got kids to take care of. They still want to be fishermen, but I don't know what to tell them.”

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