Impacts of pandemic on selling shrimp

Updated: Sep. 10, 2020 at 4:24 PM EDT
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DARIEN, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been three months since the start of shrimp season. Back in June, a McIntosh County shrimp boat captain said his first catch could have been better.

Shrimp boats hit the Georgia waters early in the morning Thursday. Darrell Gale said he’s had average catches, but when it comes time to selling the shrimp, that’s where he’s struggling.

Gale says there are so many small shrimp to catch, but customers are usually looking for big ones; more bang for your buck.

While the pandemic has impacted the restaurant industry, Gale says it’s trickling down to the shrimping industry. He says he could usually sell about 1,000 pounds of shrimp a week to a restaurant, now, only 250.

That’s because restaurants already have an overstock of shrimp, as they struggle to get customers back in their doors.

Gale says the lack of buyers makes it hard to work.

“If you stay locally with your boat and you have to work locally, if there’s nothing but smaller shrimp to catch, you can’t catch them because you can’t sell them. If you do sell them, you’re not going to get any type of profit margin for them. You’re shooting yourself in the foot,” Gale said.

Gale, along with other local shrimp boat captains, is having to travel outside of Georgia to catch bigger shrimp. He says that’s the only thing he can do if he wants to stay in business.

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