Local News

Apr 30, 2014 7:11 AM by Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS

Deadly Disease Causing Shrimp Prices to Skyrocket

CORPUS CHRISTI - Shrimp. It's a staple food not only here in the Coastal Bend, but also in the nation. Americans eat over one billion pound of shrimp every year, more than any other seafood, and over 90-percent of that shrimp is imported.

However, that won't be the case this year.

The new disease, called early mortality syndrome or EMS, isn't harmful to humans, but it's killing shrimp across the globe.

The United States relies on those imported shrimp, so it's causing a massive shortage. Shrimp prices are skyrocketing to an all-time high, and businesses here in the coastal bend are feeling the impact.

"The higher the price of a product goes, people will tend to look for other products for that one meal," said Morgan Seafood Market owner Charlie Alegria. "They'll just say, 'we're gonna eat something else, instead.'"

He's trying to absorb the costs as much as he can, to keep shrimp affordable for his customers. Alegria said he's taking a hit, but it's one for the good of the community.

"I've been in business for 54 years," said Alegria. "I know my customers."

He's not the only business owner who's trying to put his customers first, but some say businesses can only absorb so much.

"I'm trying to be more mindful and conscious of how high I can raise my prices," said Railroad Seafood Station owner Alex Hinojosa. "Not because I want to make a bigger buck, but because we want to stay around, really that's basically what it comes down to."

He hopes that customers will be understanding if their ticket is pricier than usual.

"Taste it. If you're not satisfied, I'll give you your money back," said Hinojosa. "I want to do everything I can to make you happy."

However, he's not sure how long he'll be able to keep the prices down if this new disease continues to spread.

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