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Shrinking Gulf Shrimp Harvest Linked to Lingering Red Tide

Photo: NOAA

Florida's winter shrimp harvest in the Gulf of Mexico saw "a couple of bad months," fishermen say, on top of reports of low numbers for the iconic stone crab as well. That's all while a troublesome red tide has persisted since late last year

Harvests for some shrimp species in the Gulf have dropped by millions of pounds. Pink shrimp in the Gulf crashed from more than 50 million pounds harvested in 1998 to fewer than 10 million pounds caught in 2007. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, expects harvest of brown shrimp in the Gulf through July of this year to be 39.2 million pounds, well below the average of more than 56 million pounds. The number of permits fished in the Gulf also continues to decline.

Monday at 1 p.m. on Gulf Coast Live, Dennis Henderson of Trico Shrimp Company in Fort Myers Beach joins the show to discuss the poor harvest this winter, how recent months have seen an uptick in both shrimp and stone crab harvests, and to describe the state of the Southwest Florida shrimping industry.

Also joining the program is Dr. Richard P. Stumpf, and oceanographer NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, to explain the impact of the long-lingering red tide on Gulf Coast harvests.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.