Shrimpers who trawl for the seafood delicacy in waters not on the oil spill stricken gulf coast are beginning to experience a higher demand for their catches and that includes shrimpers in South Carolina. Some areas of the country have seen prices for their shrimp rise to as high as 30 percent over last year. Processors of seafood who normally buy from the gulf are turning to other areas for the product. Former South Carolina Shrimpers Association Vice President Clay Cable says indications are that shrimp prices are up slightly, but not as high as he thinks they should be. But Cable says that could change. Cable says South Carolina shrimpers have little concern that shrimpers in the gulf region will apply for licenses to drop anchor here in South Carolina. The oil spill has led to the closing of about a third of the federal waters in the gulf to fishing boats.
Cable says it’s very hard to predict whether shrimpers in South Carolina can make up for the losses they incurred last year during the chillier than usual winter that lessened the amount of shrimp harvested. Cable says a lot depends on the gulf stream. Most of the shrimp harvested in South Carolina depends on the gulf stream moving south to north.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that tar balls have somewhere between a one to 20 percent chance of reaching the South Carolina coast during the height of the tourist season in late July or early August. Cable says fishermen in South Carolina are worried that the oil could reach the state.