MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) - Shrimp season in the Mississippi Sound resumed on Monday. You'll recall, the Department of Marine Resources closed a large portion of state waters for several weeks because the shrimp were too small.
Has the catch improved?
Decent sized brown shrimp rolled along the conveyor belt at St. Michael Fuel & Ice on Wednesday morning.
"About as pretty a shrimp as you're going to get right here this time of year," said fisherman Chris Jackson.
The 30-count shrimp came from Louisiana waters.
Jackson, the captain of the Bad Habit shrimp boat said, unfortunately, from what he's heard, fishermen won't be finding this kind of catch in the Mississippi Sound.
"They all say they're gone man. I think they're gone. I really do. Catching 'em down south now. Not like last year. Last year, the price was right. Shrimp was good," said Jackson.
Ted Luke had high hopes when Mississippi shrimp season began, but those hopes have long since melted away in the mid-July heat. Many fishermen are staying docked, rather than scraping the Sound for what few shrimp appear to be out there still.
"It's just been terrible, horrible. Shrimp's been real small and not much shrimp. Prices been real bad. Doesn't give you the courage to go and fight all those odds, you know," said Luke.
Not only is it difficult to find a decent catch in Mississippi waters, there's the ongoing pressure from cheap imports, undercutting the price to local fishermen.
While many shrimpers told us the season opened too soon with the shrimp too small, Jackson says they should have kept the season open rather than shut it down for a few weeks.
"A lot of my buddies out of Ocean Springs, they was doing fine with them little shrimp. They was making money. They was catching and making a living there. I think they should have stayed going there, I believe. Don't think it should have ever shut down," said Jackson.
Luke told us he's hopeful the white shrimp season will provide some decent catches this year. Fishermen usually begin catching white shrimp sometime in August.