The shrimping industry in the Gulf Coast continues to suffer post-Hurricane Katrina. The 2005 hurricanes, rising fuel prices, and foreign competition has put the industry "at the center of a perfect storm that just won't quit" reports USA Today this week.

The devastation wrought by the 2005 hurricanes caused severe damage to the shrimping industry's local infrastructure. Louisiana had an estimated $120 million in damages to its shrimping sector, and Mississippi's estimated $134 million damages hit shrimpers hard, according to USA Today.

Rebuilding continues to be hampered by rising fuel prices. According to local Texas paper, The Brazosport Facts, rising fuel costs combined with the rising flood of foreign competition has led to a massive decline in the numbers of shrimpers in Gulf Coast waters. As The Facts and USA Today report:


  • Licenses to catch shrimp in the Gulf have dropped 60 percent over the past 12 years. Both Louisiana and Mississippi have seen declines in the number of state-issued commercial shrimp-gear licenses. In Louisiana, the number dropped from 22,188 in 2000 to 12,590 in 2007. Mississippi issued 1,069 licenses in 2000 and only 530 last year.
  • Since 2000, shrimpers have been threatened by an influx of cheaper shrimp from foreign countries. Shrimp from countries like Thailand, Brazil, China, India, Ecuador and Vietnam account for about 95 percent of the market. These imports continue to force a dramatic drop in the per-pound price of local shrimp.
(Photo of shrimpers courtesy of FEMA)