PORT ISABEL, Texas — Texas shrimpers are optimistic about the upcoming season. Despite a low catch projection and a recent migrant worker shortage. Andrea Hance, Executive Director of the Texas Shrimp Association says, “We’re either going to see a ton of very small shrimp, or not very many shrimp at all.”
Hance says they are not anticipating high production season based on research related to fresh water flow from the Mississippi River. Which could mean that premature shrimp are flushed into the gulf. According to the Texas Shrimp Association, the state brings in 40 to 50 million pounds of shrimp. With premature shrimp, they expect 20 percent less this year or about 32 million pounds.
For the first time in the past three years, the local industry is overcoming a worker shortage. This year congress approves an extra 15,000 migrant workers to fill the much needed demand.
“We’ve been using seasonal workers for years. They come from South America and Mexico. They know how to operate a boat. They know how to work on a boat.” Says Hance.
Despite having the necessary workers, congress’s solution for more workers is a one-time fix. That means that next year they’ll be advocating for legislation change.
Hance adds, “We’re staying optimistic. We have our workers this year. We’re ready, if the shrimp are out there, we are ready to catch them.
On July 9 local shrimpers will gather for a day of prayer in the annual Blessing of the Fleet. It will take place at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin at 9:00 a.m.