Shrimpers Can't Find Many MS Shrimp

Michael Scarborough was at the Pass Christian harbor, working on an outrigger that should have been trawling the Mississippi Sound.

"I should be out, coming in Friday or Saturday."

Yet there he was on Tuesday, tied up to a dock, less than six hours after the 2005 shrimp season opened.

His partner Tom Lassabe said there was a reason for the short stint out in the water.

"Ain't nothing out there. Can't pay expenses," the 40 year shrimper said.

The Miss Carley Lynn was one of the 603 vessels in the Mississippi Sound when the season opened. It came back to the Pass Christian harbor when initial drags netted virtually nothing.

Scarborough grabbed a basket that usually would be filled with shrimp. There were less than a dozen shrimp in the basket.

"It's over. Shrimp season is over," said Lassabe.

The story wasn't much better for Dave Bieller at the Gulfport shrimp docks.

"Very few shrimp. And that's about it, nothing," Bieller said. "Size isn't too bad."

But there wasn't enough shrimp in his nets to stay out past noon.

"Normally I can fill both of those boxes up easily," Bieller said, pointing to a box filled with ice, but no shrimp.

Bieller said he would try his luck again at night.

The crew of the Miss Carley Lynn was planning a similar second attempt to find Mississippi shrimp.

"We're going to try it tonight," said Scarborough. "And if there ain't nothing tonight, we're going to put the rose on the stick, tie them up."

The DMR counted 603 boats trawling the Mississippi Sound Tuesday morning for shrimp. Just two years ago, 1,067 vessels hunted for shrimp on the opening day of the season.