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Louisiana shrimpers’ woes: Prices inch up, catch way down

September 8, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana shrimpers are getting a little more money for their catch — but there’s less catch.

Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reports that a recent uptick in prices of about a nickel per pound averted a shrimpers’ strike.

But the Southern Shrimp Alliance says Louisiana’s July shrimp landings — 1.3 million pounds — were the lowest for any July in at least 17 years.

It’s unclear why landings were so low. One theory is that heavy spring and summer rainfall and high river flows put more freshwater into the Gulf of Mexico, pushing shrimp into deeper water. Other possible factors include climate change, pollution, loss of coastal marshes and the Gulf’s low-oxygen “dead zone.”

Alabama had record landings for July at 2.2 million pounds. But the Alliance says catches are lower Gulf-wide.

Through July 2018, the total 46.9 million pounds of Gulf shrimp caught were more than 2 million pounds lower than the catch for the first seven months of last year, and about 14 percent lower than the historical average, according to the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

“There are so many factors right now that you can’t pinpoint one,” said Julie Falgout, Louisiana Sea Grant’s seafood industry liaison. “In the ’70s, when (landings) were low, you could pinpoint one thing. Now everything’s changing so much, from weather patterns to coastal erosion.”

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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