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Some Louisiana shrimpers worry about spring season

Granger's Seafood.jpg
Posted at 7:02 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 20:07:11-04

MAURICE — Some shrimpers are worried about the outlook of the harvest just days into the opening of the spring shrimp season for some parts of the coast.

This season comes off of a challenging one last year, which was hit hard by flood waters that drove seafood out of bays and marshes and into saltier water where they can survive.

Cheryl Granger, owner of Granger's Seafood in Maurice, spends a lot of her time packaging their seafood to sell while her husband is out on the water, sometimes returning with an inadequate supply.

"We're praying that maybe it'll get better, the shrimp will grow with the heat that's coming, but the amount of shrimp is not there," said Granger.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Crustacean Chair Peyton Cagle says this year's spring shrimp season opened during a slack tide, which means there were not a lot waves moving the shrimp.

"[Slack tide] should also allow for smaller catch, reduced catch, which people are obviously seeing right now, but by the time we get into these larger tide ranges, that's when we're probably going to actually be able to see what the actual brown shrimp abundance looks like."

Cagle says it's too soon to tell what the season will look like, but agents are out on the water, getting firsthand accounts from shrimpers.

"It gives us a background of what they're seeing versus our samples, so we collect the data, too, which allows us to see what type of resource is available for them to have," explained Cagle.

Granger is holding out hope the industry will pick back up, so they won't have to close the doors to their business.

"You never give up, especially when you're a fisherman on the water and that's what you know how to do and you love it, you are there," said Cagle.

Some good news for fishermen around the state-- Louisiana is set to receive $73 million in fishing disaster funds.

The money is dedicated to offsetting the impacts of the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening last year and to help hardships created for fishermen because of COVID-19.

The USDA also agreed to buy up to 20 million pounds of shrimp from Gulf Coast shrimpers.
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