Tag Archives: Andrea Hance

Brownsville: Shrimp season starts with shrimp boats lacking workers

The Texas shrimp industry faces an especially daunting challenge this year, a reality echoed in the fierceness of Father Mark Watters’ blessing-of-the-fleet sermon Monday at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin. It was Watters’ 12th year blessing the Brownsville-Port Isabel shrimp fleet, though it’s doubtful he has ever raised the roof like he did Monday with a 25-minute pep talk that started quietly before building to a shouting crescendo, Watters promising the few dozen assembled that “Jesus is in the mountain-moving business.” He didn’t mince words when citing the difficulties the fleet faces this year, namely, a dire shortage of workers from Mexico. The industry is fighting a misperception that it would rather hire Mexican H-2B visa workers than U.S. workers because they’re cheaper, Hance said, though the truth is that finding Americans to crew shrimp boats is practically impossible despite the industry’s best efforts. click here to read the story 12:58

Shortage of Workers Expected to Affect Upcoming Gulf Shrimp Season

Boat owners said new restrictions on work permits for foreign workers are forcing them to count on whichever workers they can find. Boat owner Marcelino Ochoa said his employees at the shrimp basin are currently getting their boats ready for their time out on the Gulf. Crew member Carlos Martinez, 66, said he’s been a shrimper for about 25 years. He said he has no plans to retire anytime soon. “We’re already used to doing this type of work. So, we do it with pride because we like it,” he said. Ochoa said he’s been struggling to find workers willing to spend months on the water doing tough labor. He said younger generations are just not interested in these types of jobs. Ochoa added he was lucky to get what he could, young or old, to fill positions on his 13 boats. click here to read the story 12:52

Texas Shrimp Association industry director steamed over Deepwater Horizon Restore Act money

texas shrimpers, restore act moneyAndrea Hance isn’t happy. The executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association said that of the billions of dollars in RESTORE Act money — fines related to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010 — that have been distributed to various groups in Gulf states, her industry received nothing for marketing and promotion, even though Texas shrimpers were significantly affected by the worst oil spill in U.S. history. It may all come down to the fact that, historically, the state’s industry has never had much of a voice, thus few people outside the industry understand it. But that doesn’t make Hance, who took the helm at TSA three years ago, feel any better about it. People assume that because the oil, which gushed from the seafloor for 87 days roughly 42 miles from the Louisiana coast, didn’t stray into Texas waters that the state’s shrimpers weren’t affected. In fact, when state and federal waters off Texas are closed to shrimping each year from mid-May to mid-July, the state’s fleet depends on the waters off Louisiana. Read the rest here 10:01