High prices for shrimp coupled with high demand this season - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Shrimp prices up due to less supply and more demand

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Some markets and restaurants in the Lowcountry are making changes because of high prices for local shrimp. Fuel costs and weather conditions are driving up prices. The supply and demand of local shrimp is affecting some business owners more than others. But they all agree demand is way up.

It was a busy Wednesday at the Sea Eagle Market. Employees were continuously deheading shrimp, cleaning them off and weighing them to pack. Owner Craig Reaves is all too familiar with the shrimpin' business and says prices are at an all time high.

"Definitely the boat price is up, it's the highest it's been in 30 years," said Reaves.

Part of what's driving those prices are fuel costs and weather conditions. But that's not the unusual part. It's the overwhelming increase in demand.

"Consumers and clientele are definitely wanting local stuff so that's a big plus," he said.

Reaves owns his own shrimp boats, dock and business. So far he says he hasn't been too affected by the change.  But down on Sea Island Parkway, Steamer's Restaurant owner Tina Elder was feeling the impact. 

"It can be very costly for us and come down on our bottom line," she said.

Elder buys some of her local shrimp from Reaves and the restaurant's most popular item are the shrimp baskets.

But she's changed her menu three times in the last six months.

"Sometimes we've had to lower the amount that we're putting in it, it's almost like a day-by-day basis," she added.

It's a constant juggling act but Elder is set on only using local seafood.

"Stay in business, still give a good local product to the community and also keep local people employed," she said.

Many of the seafood restaurants in the area say quality still outweighs quantity and they will only provide local shrimp to customers.

Shrimp prices are averaging roughly six and a half dollars coming off the boat.  

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