Shrimp prices expected to double

Jimmy Gregory, owner of The Bar-B-Que Station battering shrimp
Jimmy Gregory, owner of The Bar-B-Que Station battering shrimp
Dorian's Seafood in Independence, La.
Dorian's Seafood in Independence, La.
Workers sorting shrimp at Doran's
Workers sorting shrimp at Doran's

INDEPENDENCE, LA (WAFB) - The cost of a shrimp poboy might take a bigger bite out of your wallet.

Producers said the price of shrimp is at a 15-year-high.

They claim the 2010 BP oil spill crippled the industry and now foreign varieties are getting harder to come by.

The kitchen crew at The Bar-B-Que Station in Independence, La. is on the move. You'll find everything from brisket, pork, chicken, and of course, Louisiana seafood, fresh to order. It's a barbeque restaurant, but owner Jimmy Gregory said he serves a great deal of gulf shrimp too.

"Here at a barbeque restaurant, I'm going through 50 pounds of shrimp a week," Gregory said.

That may soon change.

At Doran's Seafood the shrimp are moving across the production line, but owner/operator Randy Pearce said he's not getting enough to meet the demand.

"We're lucky to get what we can right now to be honest with you," Pearce said.

Last November, instead of packaging brown shrimp, Doran's was distributing a farm-grown brand to meet the demand. But now faced with a shortage of white shrimp, Pearce fears his saving grace, shrimp from Thailand could even be off the market.

"They had a disease or epidemic that went across Asia, killed about 70 percent of crop," Pearce said.

Pearce said the industry is so uncertain, he's not sure what to expect.

"It's really feast or famine. Some weeks are really busy, some are slow," Pearce said.

Pearce said in as little as three months consumers can expect to see the price of shrimp double.

Gregory said he plans to wait before passing the price on to his customers.

"You can't always ride the wave when it comes to price. Sometimes the restaurant has to take a beating. We'll leave prices where they are at and see if market will stabilize or not," Gregory said.

Any way you slice, it's going to affect someone's bottom line.

Fishermen blame the gulf oil spill for destroying estuaries, and crippling the shrimp industry.

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