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Posted: Thursday, 17 July 2014 7:32AM

Mediocre shrimp season means jumbo prices

Though high shrimp prices may be good news for shrimpers, the industry is not all that pleased with the just concluded inland brown shrimp season.

The Gulf Seafood Institute is hoping for a turnaround as a new season begins.

Chairman Harlon Pearce says production of brown shrimp this year was only mediocre, and that's meant higher consumer prices. and prices stayed high.

"We started late, ended late, cold weather hurt us, rains hurt us...fresh water...all these things hurt us," says Pearce. "Spring was tough, and everything is behind a month or so, in production levels."

"If we'd have had a normal spring, we probably would have been in a different position."

He's hoping that position will begin to turn around soon.
The Gulf shrimp season has just begun. And, Pearce is hoping for a better white shrimp season as we move into the fall.

"The white shrimp is the king, there's no doubt about that. And, hopefully, we'll have a good or great white season that'll help change things around a little bit for us. But, that remains to be seen."

White shrimp is prized for its large size, tender texture and mild flavor. It's great for shrimp boils, barbecue shrimp as well as other preparations where it can soak in the flavors of the dish allowing its texture to stand out. Peak season for white shrimp lasts from May through November.

"Right now we are showing good signs of white larvae coming inside," Pearce says. "So, hopefully, we'll have a good white season as we get into November and December. In December, it pretty much shuts down." 

"We're looking at a strong influx of white larvae coming into the marshes. We should expect, without any weather conditions or weather fronts that come through, a fairly good white season. And, if we do have a fairly good white season, then possibly those prices will drop."

Most Gulf states are seeing a good season for Gulf shrimp. But Pearce says Louisiana has higher standards than most states.

"Louisiana is it, and it's where they all start...then they start moving off. But, the growing area for seafood is here in Louisiana. If you look at the mouth Mississippi River like it's the head of an ice cream come...we get the cream and the rest of the states get the drippings."


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