Freshwater from Cindy puts hurt on shrimping industry - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Freshwater from Cindy puts hurt on shrimping industry

Fishermen work on equipment until salinity levels get better and the shrimp come back. (Photo source: WLOX) Fishermen work on equipment until salinity levels get better and the shrimp come back. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Tropical Storm Cindy is still messing with the Coast as freshwater intrusion temporarily shuts down what was a promising shrimping season.

The shrimp have moved away to find better salinity after the inundating rains.

“After that, no shrimp,” said fisherman Van Pham. “We try all the way to Mobile, and go back to Biloxi. No shrimp.”

For about a week, boats have had to remain in dock. For everyone, it’s been a lot of effort for little yield.

"One hour sometimes, 5 pounds, 10 pounds,” Pham said. “But it’s very small shrimp.”

Fishermen are taking advantage of the free time to work on their equipment.

“Right now, it’ free time for me to fix my boat,” Pham said.

Fisherman Thao Le says the fishermen usually stick together. When times are tough, someone will act as a scout. If the shrimp are plentiful, the word goes out.

“We go find out somewhere and we get shrimp,” Le said. “Somebody calls my friend, and we catch more shrimp.”

The lull has come at a bad time, near the busy Fourth of July holiday, and it means tough times for everybody; including processors and consumers.

“It’s a domino effect from the bottom up,” said Ted Luke of St. Michael’s Fuel & Ice in Biloxi. “If the fishermen don’t do good, it effects everybody, you know.”

Normally, Luke would be unloading 5,000 pounds of shrimp. But for the past week, workers are lucky to get 50 pounds.

“Usually, we go strong until the Fourth of July,” Luke said. “But I mean to come to a screeching halt, you know, it’s not good at all. It’s bad right now.”

Within the next three weeks, consumers will see the effect of price increases for shrimpers. 

“They’ve got to eat like everybody else,” he said. “So, you have to pay them more money with less product because it’s just not enough available. Supply and demand. Basic economics," said Jim Gunkel of Quality Poultry & Seafood. 

Officials are monitoring river stages to determine fresh water intrusion into the Mississippi Sound.

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