Shrimp processors report huge drops in production
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After an impressive catch after Hurricane Isaac, seafood processors in Louisiana say shrimp production has slowed to a crawl.
Processors near New Orleans report production is down 66 percent.
It is even worse around Grand Isle, where it has fallen 75 percent.
Officials said there was a big rush in Hopedale after Isaac.
A seafood industry publication reports the surge from the hurricane pushed the shrimp into the marshes and estuaries, where they fed and grew.
And then, a stiff cold front in October pushed the big healthy shrimp out into open Gulf water, making for some huge hauls for shrimpers.
However, owner of DoRan's Seafood, Randy Pearce, said he is now packaging shrimp for a bigger company just to stay in business.
"I never dreamed I'd be doing this. Never in a million years, Pearce said.
Pearce is processing frozen farmed shrimp from Thailand.
The processor said it normally would be peeling about 30,000 pounds of shrimp per day, but things have been so slow that one of its machines has been idle for 10 days.
Grand Isle buyer, Dean Blanchard, claimed he could usually look out of his window and see 300 boats on the water.
He said he doesn't see any now because they have all moved to western waters.
The boats are having to go 80 to 100 miles away before they catching any shrimp. Where the oil came in at is basically a dead zone. Where we used to have 300 and 500 boats fishing daily, we have zero," Blanchard said.
Fishermen said a combination of debris left behind from the BP oil spill and fresh rain water hurt shrimp production this Fall.
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