BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi shrimpers have good reason to smile this summer. This season's catch is impressive. The latest numbers from the DMR show the shrimp harvest is nearly double what it was last year.
Shrimpers have been known to downplay the size of the catch, especially during banner years. But if the latest figures from the DMR are any indication, the 2014 season is looking fine.
"We've landed so far about 2.1 million pounds of shrimp, head on. Last year we had about 1.1 million at this point, so we're doing pretty good. Up from last year," said Rick Burris with the DMR staff.
Any fishermen will tell you, each year is a gamble. Uncertain fuel costs, ice, salt and other supplies; and of course, Mother Nature. Though the experts feared the cold winter and rainy spring would be bad news for the summer harvest, they were pleasantly surprised.
"Our local boats did real well this year, and they didn't do too well last year. And so far, it's holding up pretty good. It's fell off from the first week. The catch has slowed down, but it's still real good. Fishermen are doing well," said CMR Chairman Richard Gollott.
"The catch has continued on up through the past couple of weeks and they're still catching good shrimp. So that's a good sign. Maybe all the rain we had this year was a blessing," said Commissioner Steve Bosarge.
It appears a large number of shrimpers have been able to enjoy the success of this season. The DMR counted 368 boats on opening day. That's the most since 2005.
"And the price is up, so very good," said Bosarge.
The shrimping industry in Mississippi accounts for more than $200 million in overall economic impact.
"It's very good for the Biloxi, Mississippi, economy, I guarantee you," said Chairman Gollott.