A most "unusual" year for shrimp season in Mississippi

Published: Jul. 21, 2015 at 8:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2015 at 11:35 PM CDT
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Unusual.  That's the word used to describe this year's shrimp season in Mississippi.

The Commission on Marine Resources got an update at Tuesday's monthly meeting.

Small shrimp will likely be what most fishermen remember about the 2015 season. That small size caused the DMR to shut down a large portion of state waters, until those shrimp reached legal size... at which time, the waters were reopened.

This year's shrimp season will likely be one to remember.  But not in a good way.

"This has been quite an unusual season for everyone. And it's had an economic impact on the fishermen, the fisheries, the dealers, the processors. And it's just been a very tough time for everyone," the DMR's Joe Jewell told the Commission on Marine Resources.

Experts say significant rainfall earlier this year is likely to blame for the small shrimp size this summer.

"Those smaller shrimp, they kind of move with the tide. So when you have a lot of rain coming out of the bays and rivers it pushes them out. And when they get out there too early, sometimes they have a hard time growing," said Rick Burris, with the DMR Shellfish Bureau.

The harvest of white shrimp are another anomaly of the 2015 season.  Fishermen are already reporting large catches of white shrimp.

"Most of you know, the white shrimp usually start coming into the sound and being reported mid to late August," said Jewell.

It's not just the small size of shrimp making things tough on fishermen this summer.  There's price to consider, as in low, low prices being paid for their catch.  Especially coming off such a successful season just a year ago.

"An influx of imported shrimp that are on the market that are cheaper than the domestic shrimp. And then, because the price was so high last year, there are a lot of the processors who are still sitting on inventory from last year," said CMR commissioner, Steve Bosarge.

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