Tag Archives: shrimping industry

North Carolina: Debates over ending inshore trawling to protect marine life

For commercial fishermen like Thomas Smith, who works in the Pamlico Sound, shrimp trawling is essential for their livelihood. “Most of our income comes between July and November while working on inshore waters,” says Smith. He said that keeping shrimp trawling operations only in the ocean would only be viable for about two months each year, potentially devastating his business. “It would put me out of business,” he adds. Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the NCWF, supports ocean shrimp trawling but insists that inshore trawling must be stopped to protect juvenile fish species, such as the Southern flounder. “It’s time for us to catch up with the times and quit squandering our resources unnecessarily,” said Gestwicki. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:37

$3 million Shem Creek dock renovations aim to boost shrimping, fishing fleet

In a show of support for the longstanding shrimping industry, the Shem Creek docks are undergoing major renovations. The $3 million repair and rebuild of the dock, pier and processing building on Haddrell Street began June 11. Construction for the project was awarded to Cape Romain Contractors in April. Crews will remove and rebuild the existing boardwalk and pier to create a wider walking clearance for shrimpers and improve accessibility for workers and visitors. The shrimp docks are not the same as the boardwalk at Shem Creek Park and are tucked away from the restaurants and nightlife that surround the creek. Crews will also repair the shrimp processing section of the building where Tarvin Seafood operates. The back portion of the building has been condemned for years and is unsafe, said Cindy Tarvin, owner of the family-operated business. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:13

Terrebonne Parish shrimper says three-year bridge closure driving away business

Somewhere down Shrimpers Row lies the “Shrimp Kingdom.” Once a booming business, it now struggles to make ends meet. Tracey Trahan says it’s not just because of the incredibly low prices of shrimp, but instead, a broken bridge that’s driving away thousands of customers. “It’s impacting us tremendously with our sales of our business and getting a large trucking 18-wheelers in here,” said Trahan. “Some of our vendors have even backed out from picking up here because of the highway on Shrimpers Row. It’s too narrow and our truck drivers are complaining about it being dangerous.” Trahan says he’s been asking the parish to make repairs. “I was personally told that they’re waiting on funding from FEMA,” said Trahan. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<<10:14

Georgia food shrimp harvest season opens June 18

Georgia’s 2024 commercial and recreational food shrimp season will open in state waters at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 18, 2024. The opening applies to Georgia’s territorial waters from shore to three nautical miles offshore. Data from CRD’s Ecological Monitoring Trawl Survey, which monitors shrimp populations year-round, showed the fishery in May was producing higher numbers of shrimp over the 5-year average, although their sizes were negligibly smaller than shrimp from the same period.   more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:59

N.C. Wildlife Federation calls for inshore shrimp trawling ban, commercial fisheries lobbying group responds

N.C. Wildlife Federation CEO Tim Gestwicki called on state legislators Tuesday to “put a stop to inshore shrimp trawling as soon as possible.” In a news release, Gestwicki said the call is in response to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries canceling the recreational southern flounder season for 2024. Glenn Skinner, executive director of the N.C. Fisheries Association, a Morehead City-based trade and lobbying group for the state’s commercial fishermen, said Tuesday the wildlife federation is using the flounder season cancellation to scare fishermen and “build momentum” for its ongoing effort to ban shrimp trawling. The recreational fishermen exceeded the quota in 2023, he said, but commercial fishermen, who also had a short season, did not. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 17:48

SC shrimp season fully opened but fewer local shrimpers are on the waters.

Two words and one action can help South Carolina’s storied and struggling shrimping industry: Eat local. For some, it’s a culinary click-phrase that goes unpracticed. For others, it’s a habitual routine at farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants. But for Cameron Reaves, who captains a shrimp boat with Beaufort-based Sea Eagle Market, his family’s livelihood depends on people eating locally. “The shrimp market is kind of a mess right now,” Reaves said. “It’s hard for a lot of shrimpers to make it.” Fuel prices – at over $3 dollars a gallon – are slightly lower than last year, but they are still high for what the boats burn through in a day. Reaves’ 70-foot boat that can hold up to 30,000 pounds of shrimp averages 200 gallons daily. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:12

Imported seafood is killing a MS Coast industry. Could truth in restaurant menus help? 

The last of the fishermen whose boats once dotted the Mississippi Coast’s warm waters are worried. Their customers are leaving. Their sales are down. “I don’t see a future,” said Bethany Fayard, a fourth-generation processor and distributor who is fighting to withstand the pressure and sell to customers, same as always. “The industry is on life support.” The problem, fishermen and processors say, is this: foreign imports have won. There is one thing, fishermen say, that might help them hold their own in the David and Goliath battle against importing giants like India and Indonesia: Mississippi’s government could force restaurants to tell customers the truth. more. Video, photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:49

Fisheries commission wants to take ‘broad’ look at fishing impacts on SAV

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted unanimously last week to request that the state fisheries division work with the commission’s Habitat and Water Quality Advisory Committee and the Department of Environmental Quality to develop more comprehensive options for protecting Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV). The direction is to consider all activities under the commission’s authority, rather than just shrimp trawl area closures. The commission, policy-making arm of the division, acted during its quarterly business meeting Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the Beaufort Hotel. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 20:16

Shrimpers displaced as Fort Myers Beach Fire Department plans new training facility

The state of the shrimping industry on San Carlos Island has been a topic of concern for months. A shrimping building that once stood on the island is now a pile of rubble, recently demolished as the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department prepares to purchase the land. Virgilio Rijo, a shrimper who has been working these waters for over ten years, expressed his frustration. “Everybody here feels like they’re being pushed out,” he said. As the number of docking and processing facilities dwindles, Rijo and other shrimpers are beginning to feel the impact. “It’s just slowly shrinking, and everything that the shrimping business has is slowly shrinking, from the waterfront standpoint,” Rijo added, highlighting the challenges facing the industry. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<<  14:02

Filipino settlers introduced Louisiana to dried shrimp

In Lake Borgne off the coast of St. Bernard Parish, 18th century settlers performed the “Shrimp Dance,” which introduced Louisiana to dried shrimp. Filipinos, the first Asian settlers in the United States, established a marshland community called St. Malo. The community existed as early as 1763 when Louisiana and the Philippines were ruled by the Spanish government in Mexico, according to the History Channel. The hot, sticky climate and mosquitos reminded the Manilamen – as they were called – of their native land. The Filipino settlers are credited with revolutionizing the fishing and shrimp industries. Their Shrimp Dance, for instance, preserved shellfish before there were refrigerators. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:04

Alabama on verge of requiring sellers to say where their seafood comes from

The seafood industry that put this small city on the map says it is in crisis, buffeted by foreign imports that have driven down the price of shrimp to as little as a dollar per pound. Those prices are comparable to what shrimp fetched in the early 1980s – too low, Steve Sprinkle said, for many operators even to take their boats out. But the Alabama Legislature is trying to at least make it easier for consumers who want to buy local. A bill that got final approval this week would require restaurants to include “country of origin” information on or with the menu. There’s a similar requirement for good trucks and stores. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:48

75th annual Blessing of the Fleet: The last for some shrimpers

Archbishop Thomas Rodi led the town in prayer for safety and fruition over the waters in Bayou La Batre. After the prayer, the Archbishop, the Blessing of the Fleet Queens, and Father Micheal Long Vu boarded a boat. Father Vu dropped a blessed wreath into the water to honor the souls who were lost at sea. However, despite the yearly tradition, shrimpers say the blessings are not going very far. “We’re all probably going to have a little cry it’s our last year doing it and we will probably not be going to be able to do it again,” Haleigh Keith lamented. For the past 20 years, Haleigh and Peyton have gone shrimping with their grandfather on the family’s shrimping boat called “God’s Blessing’s”. However, that boat is going on sale at the end of the season. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:41

A call for the price of shrimp to rise as St. Helena Island’s boats head to sea

The future is uncertain for shrimpers in coastal South Carolina, but you wouldn’t know that from the bright, buoyant crowd that gathered Saturday at the Gay Fish Company. Attendees rang in the start of the 2024 season with cowbells and noisemakers, sending off a fleet of shrimp trawlers into the Harbour River as their nets waved like sails in the gentle morning breeze. Owned by a family of veterans spanning three generations, the Gay Fish Company on St. Helena Island held its inaugural “Blessing of the Fleet” Saturday morning. Typically involving a local pastor praying over captains for a safe and bountiful season, the practice has been a staple in fishing communities for centuries. But as fisheries up and down the coast grapple with industry shakeups from overseas, the ceremony takes on a new sort of significance. Photos, Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:29

Mount Pleasant’s annual ‘Blessing of the Fleet’ honors local shrimp and fishing industry

An annual event that pays tribute to the Lowcountry’s shrimping and fishing industry returns this weekend to Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival serves as a kickoff to coastal shrimping season, which typically begins in early June. It also serves as a reminder to eat and buy locally caught shrimp to support Charleston’s seafood industry. It happens Sunday, April 28 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Attendees can enjoy a boat parade, live music, craft show and plenty of free activities with the Ravenel Bridge and Charleston Harbor as a backdrop, organizers say. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:34

Foreign seafood could be banned at Louisiana schools

Students could be guaranteed domestic catch when seafood is on the school menu if a proposal before the Louisiana Legislature becomes law. The state House approved a bill Tuesday that would prohibit any public or private schools that receive state money from serving foreign seafood to students. House Bill 429, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Bryant, D-New Iberia, passed in a 94-7 vote with bipartisan support. It will next head to the Senate for consideration. An influx of cheap foreign catch, imported mostly from South America and Asia, has flooded Louisiana restaurants and retailers. Consumers are either oblivious to it or mistakenly believe they’re eating local fare because of deceptive labeling practices, according to the Louisiana Shrimp Association. more, >>click to read<< 07:54

Will $2.9 million in grants actually help Mississippi fishermen?

In 2023, it was declared that it was a federal fisheries disaster, making Mississippi fisheries eligible for assistance. “At this point, it’s more like a feel-good program,” said one fisherman. “Here, let me give you a little money, make you feel better.” It’s been five years since disaster struck the fishing industry in the gulf, and while fishermen have received some help since then, they say the response has been slow – too slow to actually be beneficial. Mark Kopszywa has found himself in a perpetual cycle of playing catch-up after taking such a big loss in 2019 and not being able to make up for it quickly. Video, more, >>click to read<< 06:29

Fort Myers Beach shrimpers face uncertain waters post-Hurricane Ian – Captains point to imported shrimp

On San Carlos Island, just off Shrimp Boat Lane, the local shrimp fishing community is navigating troubled waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Even with their ships repaired, the challenges for these shrimpers are far from over. Henry Gore, a seasoned shrimp boat captain of over 40 years, tells us it’s the worst state he’s seen for the local shrimping industry. The decline is due to two main factors: the high cost of boat repairs, often exceeding $100,000, and the competition from internationally imported farm shrimp. Video, more, >>click to read<< 10:53

Preserving our heritage and livelihood – A shrimper’s stand against unjust regulations

I’ve been a shrimper for over 45 years. It’s more than just a job; it’s a legacy that’s been passed down through generations in my family. Since I was 15, I’ve been working in the waters of Plaquemines Parish, my workplace, my passion, and my source of livelihood. Today, as I continue to bring the finest Gulf shrimp to your tables, I find myself fighting not only for my job but for the very soul of Louisiana’s shrimping heritage. The recent rule by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) mandating the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on skimmer trawl vessels longer than 40 feet is a real threat to our community. This rule, though it may seem well-intentioned, is an example of overreach and disregard for our industry’s reality. more, >>click to read<< 13:44

Senator John Kennedy works to bring Louisiana shrimping industry back to life

The $36 million purchase from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) of the Louisiana shrimping industry was done to help alleviate some of the issues the industry has been struggling with for years. United States Senator John Kennedy (R- La) says although he applauds the purchase, more still needs to be done to save the industry. Acy Cooper with the Louisiana Shrimp Association agrees with the senator the purchase does help, but additional assistance is needed to save one of Louisiana’s biggest industries. Video, more, >>click to read<<12:41

Beaufort leaders ask Gov. McMaster to declare economic disaster to help shrimping industry

This all comes after local shrimper Craig Reaves sent this letter to city council explaining how shrimp dumping threatens his livelihood, and that of many others. In his letter to council, Reaves says that ‘all commercial fishing families have been decimated.’ He lists multiple reasons for said decimation but says that import dumping is the lead cause. For context, shrimp dumping is when farmed shrimp from other countries is sold to U.S. retailers and restaurants for below the market price that local shrimpers adhere to. Beaufort officials recognize the issue. “You can’t have locally owned operated seafood companies if the market price is going to be debased by this amount of flooded shrimp that’s coming in,” said Beaufort’s Acting Mayor Michael McFee. Video, more, >>click to read<< 08:40

Editorial: South Carolina’s shrimpers are struggling; here’s 1 way to help

Those living in the Charleston area likely are well-familiar with the fact that our local shrimping industry has long been bruised by competition from imported shrimp, but the problem seems to have become more urgent than ever. Fortunately, there are steps we all can take to help out. As S.C. Shrimpers Association vice president Bryan Jones wrote in his recent letter to the editor, our state’s shrimping fleet has reached a critical juncture, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of families and a cherished way of life along our coast. That’s why our state’s association is joining with similar groups in other coastal states to press their case on both the state and federal levels, seeking an economic disaster declaration that would lead to short-term relief, such as low-interest loans and tax breaks. >>click to read<< 11:28

One Year after Ian: Shrimping Industry

Grant Erickson’s family spent 70 years building their shrimping business on San Carlos Island.  Hurricane Ian destroyed it in about 12 hours. “Devastating. We’ve never been damaged so bad,” he recalled. “You come back to that, and you’re stunned. You’re in shock. You don’t even know where to start. It’s too much all at once.” It’s just hard to put in words the last year,” Jesse Clapham, the fleet manager for Erickson and Jensen Seafood. “We had a meeting, and everybody said, ‘Do we want to give up and go home, or do we want to put it back together?’ And everybody unanimously said, ‘Put it back together,’” he recalled. But doing so would be a Herculean challenge. Photo, Video, >>click to read<< 10:57

North Carolina: State’s shrimping industry needs Cooper’s support

As the state’s shrimping industry faces a perfect storm of challenges that may result in the demise of hundreds of family owned fishing businesses, it is time for Governor Cooper to show that he is as committed to the small entrepreneur as he is the large industrial investors that he continually promotes whenever a ribbon cutting opportunity arises. John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance has sent a letter to eight coastal governors, including North Carolina’s, asking their support both financially and politically as the domestic shrimping industry faces unprecedented challenges to its existence. So far the alliance has not received a positive response. Describing the situation as “an unprecedented catastrophic crisis that threatens its (the domestic shrimping industry’s) very existence,” William’s letter notes that foreign imports along with high fuel prices are devastating “the many family-owned businesses that are the core of the economies of coastal communities.” >>click to read<< 08:36

Former commercial fisherman Samuel “Sammie” Elton Leonard of Calabash, NC. has passed away

He was born on May 26, 1939 in Shallotte Point, NC. He was the son of the late Lloyd Leonard and Pauline Grissett Leonard. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters Joyce Skeen and Dorit Teeters, and brothers Elroy Leonard and Etheridge Leonard.  Sammie was quite a successful commercial fisherman, owning a fleet of shrimp boats. He was well respected in the shrimping industry as one of the best. He even designed and took part in the building process of his largest boat, The Big Mama, which dwarfed other boats of its kind. He later owned and operated True Value Hardware in Calabash, NC. Sammie was a jack of all trades and always willing to lend a hand when needed.  >click to read< 10:40

Leonard Woolsey – Decline of shrimping industry a jumbo problem

The threat to the local shrimping industry is jumbo-sized. In recent weeks, members of the local shrimping industry have taken action to raise awareness of the critical challenges they face in keeping their business afloat. And the economic impact on the Galveston County is significant. “The price of diesel and the falling price of shrimp has made it hard to break even,” said deckhand Cliff Dunn, who last week was at work with Capt. Trey Branch getting a boat ready for the Gulf season’s start. “The price of diesel and the falling price of shrimp has made it hard to break even,” said deckhand Cliff Dunn, who last week was at work with Capt. Trey Branch getting a boat ready for the Gulf season’s start. >click to read< 12:00

Mary Meaux – Our shrimping industry keeps taking hits with foreign imports

Days before the opening of the Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp season, a group of shrimpers held a rally in Texas City to bring awareness to the plight of Texas shrimpers and the shrimping industry in general. Tricia Kimball, whose husband Kyle is president of the Port Arthur Area Shrimpers Association, explained the effort. The season for the Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters reopens 30 minutes after sunset Saturday, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Kyle Kimball is a third-generation commercial shrimper. He remembers standing on a 5-gallon bucket as a child helping his father pick through shrimp. It’s been his lifelong career but last year when diesel prices hit $5 per gallon, he only went out once because it was too expensive. >click to read< 20:06

Southwest Florida’s shrimping industry struggles to stay afloat after hurricane devastation

Erickson & Jensen Seafood now have five of their shrimp boats back in the water, but their operations are far from normal since Hurricane Ian. “We had a nice ongoing business and we were very secure,” Grant Erickson said referring to his 75-year-old business. “Been doing this for a long, long time. And then all of a sudden in a 12-hour period, the storm just took us completely out of what we were doing.” Before Hurricane Ian, Erickson and Jensen had 11 ships bringing in tons of shrimp. From rebuilding the docks and their buildings, it’s been difficult to find the money. Video, >click to read< 13:27

Louisiana Shrimping Industry Faces Uncertain Future in 2023

Shrimpers now face some of the lowest prices they have ever seen due to massive amounts of shrimp being imported from overseas, according to Larose-based trade group Louisiana Shrimp Association. Acy Cooper Jr, the Louisiana Shrimp Association’s president, says the math around shrimp imports are simply not in the Louisiana shrimp industry’s favor. With Louisiana able to meet roughly 25% of the overall U.S. shrimp market demand – shrimp importers from countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have brought to market more shrimp than the United States will typically consume each year, driving the price on the open market for Louisiana shrimp lower and lower. >click to read< 13:53

Texas: Shrimping grinds to a halt as import oversupplies add to ongoing woes

The Gulf shrimping industry, including the Brownsville-Port Isabel fleet, shrinking steadily over the last couple of decades, is now in a state of near total collapse thanks to new, unprecedented challenges in addition to the usual. So says Andrea Hance, executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association, who said she and her husband have put their two shrimp boats up for sale because it’s become impossible to make money fishing for domestic shrimp anymore. About 95% of the local fleet is tied up, most fleet owners are cutting their crews loose, and just about everybody Hance knows is trying to sell their boats and shrimping licenses, she said. >click to read< 19:09

Rock the Shrimpers Relief Benefit Sunday

Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches will be hosting a “Rock the Shrimpers Relief Benefit” on Sunday at Torched Bar & Grill in Cape Coral. The concert will benefit the Fort Myers Beach shrimping industry, with the proceeds going delivered to Trico Shrimp Company, Erickson & Jenson Shrimp Company “and independent shrimpers on Fort Myers Beach equally depending on the number of boats they own,” Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches President Steven Ray McDonald said.  >click to read, with schedule< 17:24

Sunday benefit for Fort Myers Beach shrimpers hard hit by Hurricane Ian – Only two of the 40-plus boats registered to Fort Myers Beach have been capable of fishing since September when Hurricane Ian pushed most of the fleet onshore and decimated the industry’s infrastructure, shrimpers said.  “We may not ever recover from this,” said shrimper Blaine Green, a few weeks after the storm. “It could all go away. And it wouldn’t surprise me but I hope it doesn’t.” Photos, Video, >click to read<