PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi shrimp season traditionally opens in the first week of June, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the docks.
They would normally be buzzing with activity, getting ready for the season, but Wednesday there was very little activity in Pass Christian. At Pass Purchasing Seafood, a single boat pulled away after bringing in a load from several days of work in Louisiana waters. The operator there said ice and fuel sales have been slow for this time of year.
Many Coast shrimpers have headed to Louisiana, where shrimp season opened last week. The success shrimpers have there often serves as a preview to the Mississippi season.
"You never really know what to expect in this business, honestly, " said Jeremy Forte, a seafood wholesaler. “Like when an environmental change like this happens with the spillway, you never really know what to expect, especially with the extent of it this year, because we’ve had it happen in the past, but not as bad as this.”
Most of the people we spoke with were worried that the freshwater incursion from the Bonnet Carré Spillway would hurt the Mississippi shrimp season.
“I do know this. So far we haven’t been seeing hardly any brown shrimp, and normally this time of year we see a lot more browns than we do white shrimp, so that raises my concern a little bit," Forte said. “I always hope for the best for the fishermen because whatever helps them helps us. I feel for them because the shrimp prices are the same now as they were years ago and the costs to operate are a lot more expensive now."
The Department of Marine Resources is monitoring the development of shrimp to determine exactly when the Mississippi season will open.