NewsLocal News

Actions

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic bait shrimping business is good

Aftermath of Hurricane Hanna
Posted at 5:39 AM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 06:39:42-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS — Over the past few years, the shrimping business has been struggling. Even the number of boats licensed to catch bait shrimp in Texas bays has dropped.

There are currently only about 300 boats licensed to catch bait shrimp in Texas bay waters compared to 2,378 in 1988.

Just days after Hurricane Hanna slammed into the Coastal Bend, those few bait shrimping boats were back at work to meet the public demand.

“They have been selling as fast as we can get them. It is gone. We are steady every day; every day we need 200 pounds every day,” said Richardson.

Kevin Richardson has been dragging shrimp nets in the bay for more than 25 years. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Richardson says business has never been better.

“It ended up working for us because it seemed like more people wanted to get out where there wasn’t anybody to go fishing. It actually helped them get out of the house. People went fishing. They felt safe out there; they felt like they were not going to be around others. The social distance was easy to do. It is just as good, if not better,” said Richardson.

The advantage of bait shrimping is that it is year-round. Shrimp boats can unload their live shrimp and sell them for cash right from the dock.

“Right now, I am only allowed a 200-pound limit. Like today, we took 116 pounds to the Cos (Cos Way Bait & Tackle), and I probably got 50 here on the boat which leaves me under my limit. Everything else is just extra. Pays for fuel, slip rentals, and insurance, or whatever. This is just extra,” said Richardson.

Richardson, who has been selling out of shrimp daily, says the price of live shrimp ranges from 5 to 10 dollars a pound, depending on the size of the shrimp.