2001 Shrimp Season Gets Off To Rocky Start

Ninh Nguyen's boat pulled into the Pass Christian Harbor Tuesday afternoon. Nguyen normally spends days trawling for shrimp in the Mississippi Sound. But on opening day, he had some equipment problems, which he blames on the rough weather.

Nguyen says the weather was too windy and choppy, so a lot of the smaller boats could not work. They had to return to the harbor. Nguyen says he only worked for 2 hours, and had to head back to the harbor because his equipment broke down.

The choppy seas also chased many other shrimpers back to the dock. Kim Vu said the shrimp looks really good this year, but since it was too choppy on the waters, she had to come in early. Aarron Montiforte says his crew didn't catch as many shrimp as they expected.

Other shrimpers had better luck with their nets. Robert Fayard says the weather slowed him down a bit. But his catch was above average, and the shrimp looks a lot better.

Several shrimpers didn't even bother going out because of the rough weather. They say they look forward to hitting the waters in the next few days. And many shrimpers have high expectations for the rest of the season.

Kim Vu says she's very optimistic that this will be a good season. She says if the weather wasn't so bad today, she would have gotten more shrimp. Vu says the shrimp looks really big. Robert Fayard says he thinks he'll do very well. All he has to worry about is the weather.

DMR officials also expect a good season this year, because the low rainfall and high salinity help the shrimp grow. Officials say so far, shrimpers across the Sound report average catches.  Prices for medium-sized shrimp at the docks range from $2 to $4 a pound.

By: Trang Pham-Bui