Shrimpers: Season Not One Of The Best

Shrimpers say they aren't doing well for a couple of reasons. Low harvests and foreign imports that are driving the prices down, some marine experts say as much as 30 to 40 percent. The shrimpers say the money they are making isn't enough to keep up with rising fuel costs and other expenses.

Seafood shoppers found the best place to buy fresh shrimp is right off the boat and they say the price is right too.

"From these people I've gotten a lot of good shrimp from 'em," says one woman.

Another, from Baton Rouge says, "For this at a market we'd probably pay five or six dollars I would imagine. From an individual probably four. And you paid three and two for these? Right, right."

Those prices are lower than shrimpers like to see.

"A good price right now for 16/20's would be like $3.50, $3.75 a pound. We're gettin' $2.20," says shrimper Robert Corbin. "It's not been real good, we've had a real bad season. The shrimp are not that plentiful, the price is way down, imports is killin' us and the hurricanes they come along."

The demand for shrimp is up,  but according to the Sea Grant Advisory Service, the U.S. produces only about eight percent of what we consume so the rest of the shrimp comes from overseas.

Dave Burrage, a Marine Resource Specialist, says, "The cost associated with producing shrimp in foreign countries is nowhere near what it costs us in this country. They have lower land prices, they have lower labor prices they have less regulation in terms of environmental controls and that type of thing so we just can't compete."