2020 has been an up and down year for Texas shrimpers
Shrimpers operating on the Gulf of Mexico are bringing in a good about of shrimp, but they have had their troubles this year.
At the Port of Brownsville, there is good news for shrimpers who operate in the Gulf of Mexico. “We’re actually catching a lot of shrimp, which is great. Our industry needs a year that we can actually make money,” Texas Shrimp Association’s Andrea Hance states.
However, there has also been some trouble for them this year. “We fear the prices will plummet from where they are now,” Hance adds. “Right now they’re actually averaging about $3.50 a pound... but we just fear with more and more restaurants closing, they’re going to stop buying shrimp, obviously, and that’s going to affect our price.”
As restaurants close or operating with limited capacity, COVID-19 has affected the bottom line of shrimping companies. It has also affected the actual shrimping process.
According to Hance, “If a couple of guys come down with COVID on the fishing vessel, we bring that person back to the dock. We get the rest of the crew tested before it goes back out fishing.”
If the year turns out to be a total loss, shrimpers ave next to no support. Most owners cannot afford to insure a boat. Also, there is not much they can get from the federal government.
“There is not insurance available for shrimp,” she notes. “We wanted to push for that, but there’s too many hurdles right now to push for that and it’s something that we may do in the future but, unfortunately, our production, our produce is not insurable.”
Hance says that is is a gamble to send out a boat for 30 to 45 days. Three to five boats sink each year in Texas.