Shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, November 2010. LIFE magazine via gulfofmexicooilspillblog.com

By Faimon A. Roberts, Advocate Florida Parishes bureau
11 OCtober 2011

This year’s white shrimp harvest in the waters off Louisiana’s southeastern coast is significantly lower than in the past, forcing some people in the industry to look elsewhere for product and scale back operations while others blame the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

“I am talking to the guys, I am talking to the docks, and they are telling me that they are 80 percent off,” said Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. “We should have had a good year this year.”

Carol Terrebonne, who runs the Seafood Shed, a seafood wholesaler in Golden Meadow, agreed.

“Usually at this time of the year, we are loading trailer loads,” Terrebonne said. “It’s just not happening.” […]

The lack of shrimp around Grand Isle has forced some shrimpers to sail west toward Dulac and Delcambre, said Dean Blanchard, owner of a shrimp dock in Grand Isle.

“Our Grand Isle beach is producing less than one percent of the shrimp it normally produces,” he said.

Many fishermen are blaming the lack of shrimp on the oil leak, said Guidry of the Louisiana Shrimp Association.

“I think you will find the parishes that were most affected by oil are down (in terms of shrimp),” Guidry said. “We are just seeing something (a lower number of shrimp), and what we see on the beaches is a minute fraction of what went on in the Gulf. I don’t think we will ever know what it (the oil) killed.”

Guidry cited a study published Sept. 26 by LSU researchers Fernando Galvez and Andrew Whitehead. The study found that exposure to oil causes changes in fish genes that could have implications for future fish populations.

“You look at this fish study, you put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Guidry said. […]

The low harvest is impacting businesses farther inland, too, such as Doran Seafood, a shrimp processing plant in Independence.

“We have done zero this year,” said Randy Pearce, the plant’s owner-operator. “We have not peeled one Louisiana white shrimp.”

Pearce recently pointed to an empty live shrimp storage room, saying that at this point in the season, it should be full. […]

Harvesters dispirited by white shrimp catch

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