Despite rumors to the contrary, the shrimp industry in Biloxi is coming back strong.
There's a popular misconception that Hurricane Katrina knocked out shrimping for the season. But some local fishermen and seafood processors are already back in business
Familiar sounds of shrimp processing fill the factory floor at Golden Gulf Seafood. Plump, orange tinted shrimp spin down the assembly line. Experienced hands sort and grade the catch. And, surprise, these good sized shrimp are from Mississippi fishermen.
"A lot of people is preaching and saying the shrimp industry is dead in Biloxi and it's no use. But we're here to tell you it's alive and well and we're doing well. The shrimpers that are going out right now are making money," said Richard Gollott, who owns "Golden Gulf Seafood."
Mesh bags filled with fresh shrimp are cranked out of the cold storage hull aboard the "Sea Dolphin." The larger shrimp boats have been fishing for several weeks now, and the catch is plentiful.
"The way I understand it, they're catching them somewhere outside Chandeleur. In federal waters. And it's large shrimp. Very nice," said Gollott.
Those fishermen able to shrimp got a supply and demand boost from Katrina. Shrimp prices have gone up some 30 cents a pound since the storm.
Gollott estimates Hurricane Katrina knocked out about ten percent of Mississippi's shrimping fleet. But those fishermen who've returned to the water are not only finding decent catches, they also got an extra bit of good news Friday morning, when fuel prices dropped slightly.
The words of Mark Twain are appropriate for the Biloxi shrimping industry. Rumors of its demise, are greatly exaggerated.
"Biloxi is home of the shrimp industry. The capital. We have to bring it back. It's heritage," Gollott explained.
It's heritage with a still promising future, despite Katrina.