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Problems Overseas Cause Louisiana Shrimp Prices to Go Up

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Shrimp lovers, you’ve probably noticed you are paying more to satisfy your craving. WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano reports on what’s behind the national demand that’s making you pay more.

Whether you’re paying with cash or plastic the price of seafood is at an all-time high. We’ve all heard about it when it comes to crawfish; now shrimp are costing us more as well.

Westwego Seafood Market salesman Roy Rivet says, “We are supplying everybody else out of the United States because the crops are bad. Their crops went down so they’re buying our shrimp, plus other shrimp, so we got to meet the price. In order to keep them here we got to pay that price. That’s why they are high.”

Rivet says his tables are usually full with coolers full of shrimp, but that is not the case right now.

“Because the other states are taking them before we can get to them,” explains Rivet.

President of the Louisiana Seafood Association Clint Guidry says, “It’s a bad problem for the consumers; a good problem for the fishermen.”

Guidry says 90% of the shrimp we eat is imported from overseas. The problem this year is that some of that shrimp is diseased, which means the rest of the country is turning to Louisiana to fill that void.

“You’re getting good seafood. You’re going to pay for good seafood. You pay more for Maine lobster, you pay more for Alaskan wild caught salmon, and I would expect that you’re going to pay more for good, wild caught Louisiana shrimp,” says Guidry.

At the Westwego Seafood Market we found small, farm raised shrimp starting at $5.50 a pound. Medium shrimp are selling for $6.50 a pound, and large shrimp are going for $7.25 a pound.

Salesman Roy Rivet says these numbers are more than double last year.

“Since August the first they’ve been going up,” explains Rivet, “With an increase on the price every time we buy a load, we used to buy one load a week now we are buying one load a month.”

Guidry is defending current shrimp prices saying for years fishermen were not making their fair share. Guidry does however say that once the brown shrimp season opens, in mid-May, prices may drop slightly.