Summertime and seafood… doesn’t get much better unless you’re the captain of a bay shrimp boat trying to earn a living off the coast of Texas right now. The front page of the Victoria Advocate on Wednesday said it best with their headline in all caps: “NET LOSSES”. Indeed the bay catch is so bad some boats can’t afford to leave the docks. What happened? Blame is on the rain. Andrea Hance, Executive Director of the Texas Shrimp Association, has been in the business with her husband since 2008. She says the season doesn’t open until July 15th, but it doesn’t look too promising.
On how the rain hurts the catch this year:
“As it flushes down the rivers, [the rain] flushes the shrimp out from the bay and estuaries. It may have flushed them out a little prematurely not allowing them to grow to a larger, optimal size,” Hance says. “We’re estimating that our shrimp catch is going to be substantially lower and the shrimp are probably going to be a little bit smaller.”
On a good catch verse a bad catch:
“In terms of the bay shrimpers, they have a limit of about 800 lbs a day…. I think they’re catching 200 to 300 lbs now,” Hance says. “Gulf shrimpers, per day, a good catch is maybe 3,000 to 4,000 lbs on up to 5,000 or 6,000…. Texas along the gulf coast, we average somewhere between 25 million pounds a year… The prediction that just came out…predicted production to be somewhere around 18 million pounds which is extremely extremely low.
Hance says production this year is predicted to be somewhere around 18 million lbs, an extremely low haul. But Texas consumers can still look forward to ceviche and shrimp cocktail, thanks to the imported seafood industry.
“Americans only consume 8 to 10 percent of American wild-caught seafood. The rest is imported,” she says.