Tag Archives: Brownsville-Port Isabel Shrimp fleet

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

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