Texas shrimpers, off by 20-25%, point to Harvey, low prices, labor shortageSeptember 21, 2018
Texas shrimpers, off by 20-25%, point to Harvey, low prices, labor shortage
Shrimp harvesters in the US state of Texas are seeing a so-far 20% to 25% drop in production during their peak season, between mid-July and October, Andrea Hance, executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association (TSA), reportedly told the Houston (Texas) Chronicle.
The struggles are related to a combination of factors, including the damage done by tropical storm Harvey a little more than a year ago, sources told the newspaper. In some cases, shrimpers had to temporarily move their families on to their boats as they worked to repair their flood- and wind-damaged homes.
Additionally, the brown shrimp population is “below average” in the Gulf of Mexico, due especially to the large amount of freshwater that flooded into the areas, according to the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, in Galveston, Texas. The agency predicted 49.2 million pounds of shrimp would be harvested in Texas and Louisiana waters, below the historical average of 55.9m lbs.
Meanwhile, an “overwhelming amount” of farmed shrimp flooding the global market is keeping prices low and packing companies are having trouble securing labor due to changes made by the new administration to the H-2B temporary worker program. The Texas shrimp industry, which needs about 750 visa workers to keep going, is losing roughly $750,000 per day due to the shortage, the newspaper reports.