Brownsville-Port Isabel Shrimp fleet blessing comes amid dour season outlook

577da0996b413.imageWith local crews preparing boats for the reopening of the Texas shrimp season in about a week, the Brownsville-Port Isabel shrimp fleet once again received a much-needed blessing Wednesday courtesy of Father Mark Watters. In the shade of a large, open-air shed at Zimco Marine on the Brownsville shrimp basin, diesel exhaust fumes from the idling trawler “Miss Opal” borne through the crowd by a stiff south wind, Watters led prayers against the industry’s tough times and the negative emotions they produce, and delivered a rousing sermon in the manner of a coach’s pre-game pep talk. Gary Graham, a professor and marine fisheries specialist with Sea Grant Texas at TexasA&MUniversity, was also in attendance, and said that excessive freshwater in the bays due to heavy spring rains has hindered development of the brown shrimp that the local fleet largely depends on. Not just the size but also the volume of shrimp appears to have been affected, he said. “I’m concerned with the overall number of shrimp that are going to be produced from our Texas base this year because of all the freshwater,” Graham said. Read the story here 18:59

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