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Aug 19, 2010 8:08 PM by Shawn Kline

Prices hurting but Shrimpers celebrate in Delcambre

The Shrimp Festival is underway in Delcambre but for those who work in the celebrated industry, times are tough.

"Prices used to be at $2.00 a pound," Shrimper Jimmy Dupre said. "Now, the processing plants want to pay us a dollar a pound."

Last Friday, shrimpers felt they were heading out to sea with a fair price. By the time they came back into port, the price fell by over 50-cents.

The processing plants aren't buying shrimp and the shrimpers aren't selling to the processors so who benefits from this mayhem?

You do.

Since the price dropped so drastically, many shrimpers are turning to selling their catch straight off the boat.

Glenda Ware is one of their customers.

"We get it a lot cheaper than what it would cost at the shrimp shop." Ware says, "it helps our shrimpermen too- they're getting a fair price with us."

However, the shrimpers rely on the processing plants for the smaller shrimp (those are the ones referenced at a dollar/pound).

KATC's Shawn Kline did some calculations:

The average cost to run a ship out to sea is about $7,000. A shrimper who hauled in 5,000 lbs. of shrimp this week will sell it to the processing plant for... (at $1.10/lb) $5,500... A net loss of $1,500.

"They're being greedy," Dupre said of the processors. "They'll turn around and sell it to you for double the price."

A deal that could leave shrimpers in the hole for this shrimp fest.

The price decline has nothing to do with oil or the fear of contamination- it's simply supply and demand. Since the season just opened, there is plenty of shrimp to be had.

"It will slowly get better." Shrimper John Barras says, "but it will get better a nickel at a time."

At the Shrimp Fest, all the shrimp was caught and purchased before the price decline as well as before the oil disaster. So if you're one of those who don't trust the extensive tests or the fisherman's word- you can still eat the shrimp- it's been stored in a freezer, waiting for this weekend.

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