Shrimpers Hope To Ride Out Allison's Fury

Fresh gulf shrimp was on ice at Biloxi's small craft harbor. And people lined up to buy it. Catching shrimp the first week of the 2001 season wasn't easy. "It was rough and windy," shrimper Richard Dupre said. "It was all right shrimp wise for the time we worked."

That's been the problem. Shrimpers haven't worked that much. According to shrimper Robert Fayard, "The weather has pretty much been keeping everyone in shore, except for the real big boats."

The small boats couldn't handle the winds and the seas that came from Allison. According to the Coast Guard, 14 shrimp boats capsized during the storms. Ronald Baker made it back to the docks before the weather turned nasty. "It wasn't too good for me," he said, "kind of rough. I Couldn't work like I wanted to."

When the sun came out Tuesday, Baker decided to get back to work. He bought two-and-a-half tons of ice, and got ready to catch some shrimp. Because the heavy rains dropped salinity levels, finding large shrimp in the Mississippi Sound could become quite a chore. "Usually they get smaller after a blow, that's what we find," he said. "That's what we're thinking, they might be a size smaller or two sizes smaller."

Robert Fayard injured his hand the first time his shrimp boat worked the waters. He's ready to put the Miss Belle, and his hand, back to work. "We was doing pretty good until the weather came in," Fayard said. "Our biggest fear is all the fresh water is going to push them out."

The fishermen said they can't wait to get out and catch shrimp again, to see if the first week rains really had an impact on the 2001 shrimp season.