Shrimp season off to slow start

Shrimp season off to slow start

Shrimp season opened Monday in Mississippi, as big boats unloaded their catch.

Fresh shrimp rolled off the conveyor track at St. Michael's Fuel & Ice docks in Biloxi on Friday morning, where thousands of pounds will be processed.

"First boat I unloaded had some 50-60's on it, which looked like everything was in line. But then everything to follow that really got small; 80-100's, 70-80's, 60-70's," said Chris Lyons, referring to the number of shrimp per pound.

Ted Luke describes opening week as slow, but says there are some large shrimp among the catch.

"You know, they're catching a handful of big ones, but not much, them jumbos. They're either jumbo or gumbo, either large or small. Pretty slow for our opening, you know. Last year was bad and looks like this year is starting off pretty bad," said Luke.

Third generation shrimper Jared Guidry says it seems to get tougher each and every year to make a living out on the water.

"But we're trying to keep our tradition going," said Guidry. "All we need is a little help on the shrimp prices," said Guidry.

Still, Guidry says he's done okay so far.

"Well, it was a little weak in the sound for Mississippi, but we caught a few out in Lake Bourgne. We had to resort to retailing a few shrimp, but we're doing okay."

Each season brings its own challenges for fishermen. Prices may not be where they'd like, but there are some advantages.

"At least the fuel price is down this year, not as bad as it was last year. That's probably their biggest expense. As long as their boat is maintained well, they're going to keep trying. But prices are pretty cheap," said Lyons.

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