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News Filed Under Marine Resources

The 2017 Gulf of Mexico dead zone, primarily off the coast of Louisiana, recently measured 8,776 square miles, the largest ever recorded in 32 years of monitoring. Reducing the size of the hypoxic zone is important to ensure continued productivity of the Gulf fishery. (Data source: N.N. Rabalais, Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium; R.E. Turner, LSU. Funding: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, http://www.gulfhypoxi
August 25, 2017 - Filed Under: Environment, Marine Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A new record has been set in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is not one to brag about because it threatens a multibillion-dollar fishing industry.

The most recent Gulf dead zone measured in the summer of 2017 was the largest ever recorded in 32 years of monitoring. It covered 8,776 square miles, which is closer to the size of New Jersey than the average zone size of 5,309 square miles. Reducing the size of the hypoxic zone is important if we want to ensure continued productivity of the Gulf fishery.

August 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi State University has hired a new marine fisheries specialist for its Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

Marcus Drymon began his MSU Extension Service appointment Aug. 1. Before coming to MSU, he received his doctorate from the University of South Alabama Department of Marine Sciences, where he also served on the faculty.

July 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment, Fisheries, Forestry, Invasive Plants, Marine Resources, Water, Wildlife

BILOXI, Miss. -- Individuals interested in learning more about conservation of Mississippi's natural resources can attend the Coastal Mississippi Master Naturalist class.

The seven-week course begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, located at 1815 Popp's Ferry Road in Biloxi. Classes meet once a week at various locations through Oct. 17. Weekday classes meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Weekend classes begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Beef, Beekeeping, Forestry, Seafood Economics

BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi State University researchers and Extension Service agents heard suggestions from Coastal area agricultural producers and industry leaders about the research and education they need from the university in 2017.

The MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center Producer Advisory Council meeting was held on Feb. 28 in Biloxi. The annual meeting helps the university allocate time and resources to the most important issues facing Mississippi's agricultural producers and related industries.

Shrimp boats at rest in the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor in Biloxi, Mississippi, Jan. 25, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
July 7, 2016 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics

BILOXI, Miss. -- Wild-caught shrimp contribute millions of dollars to Mississippi’s economy each year, and experts say better flavor gives them a competitive advantage over imported and pond-raised shrimp.

Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension Service fisheries specialist, said consumers who participate in blind taste tests tend to prefer the taste of wild-caught Gulf shrimp over that of pond-raised, imported products.

Mississippi’s shrimp season, which opened June 6, is mostly yielding small brown shrimp. However, hot weather and warmer water in the Gulf is creating ideal growing conditions for the shrimp. (File Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
June 17, 2016 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Selling directly to the public takes longer, but it allows fishermen to make some profit from a shrimp season that has been below average so far this year in Mississippi.

Dave Burrage, commercial and recreational fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said shrimp landed in Mississippi have been small through mid-June.

Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension Service professor, demonstrates safety features on a life raft used aboard commercial fishing vessels. (Photo by MS-AL Sea Grant Consortium/Melissa Schneider)
October 9, 2015 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- The Atlantic hurricane that sunk the cargo ship El Faro in early October highlights the need for sailors to be trained in how to react in an emergency.

Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension professor of marine resources at the Coastal Research and Extension Center, is trained to certify marine safety instructors who are sailors on commercial vessels. Two Mississippi sailors he trained survived an on-the-water collision that sunk one boat in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused more than $35 million in damages to the state’s commercial fishing fleet. The state’s 69 seafood-processing plants, 141 seafood dealers, and five land-based support facilities saw more than $100 million in damages. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Ben Posadas)
August 27, 2015 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Ten years after Hurricane Katrina left him with nothing but his three medium-sized refrigerator vessels, shrimper Steve Bosarge has overcome major tribulation to expand his business.

Years before the catastrophe, Bosarge diversified his business because of increased shrimping competition. In the 1990s, he began providing endangered species animal relocation and site clearance services for oil companies. He had no way of knowing that this side work would save his business. He continues that service today, along with his original career.

Low prices and an unusual season are making it difficult for Mississippi fishermen to harvest the state's shrimp crop. (Photo by MSU Extension/Dave Burrage)
July 31, 2015 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi fishermen remain intent on harvesting this year’s shrimp crop in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico despite low prices and a season paused and restarted.

Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension professor of marine resources at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said the shrimp season first opened June 3, closed June 19 when shrimp were too small, and then reopened July 13.

“This season has been an anomaly so far,” Burrage said.

July 8, 2015 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi fishermen and shoppers are wondering where the shrimp are as they wait for the on-again, off-again shrimp season to really get underway.

Dave Burrage, Mississippi State University Extension Service professor of marine resources at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said shrimp season might have opened too early this year.

The Master Stephen sets off into the Mississippi Sound off of Biloxi to catch shrimp. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Dave Burrage)
July 3, 2014 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI -- Mississippi shrimpers had an excellent opening day, a fact that had them pleasantly surprised.

Based on reports from just two of Biloxi’s three shrimp dealers as of July 1, fishermen landed 790,000 pounds of shrimp in the first week. Last year, all three Biloxi shrimp dealers reported total first-week landings of 541,000 pounds of shrimp.

Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said hot, dry spring weather is considered good for shrimp crops, but the state got the exact opposite this year.

Cool temperatures delayed the start of shrimp season in Mississippi's coastal waters until June 11, but if conditions hold, the crop is predicted to be about the same as last year's in terms of prices and production costs. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
July 5, 2013 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI – More than 250 boats launched on June 11 to open the shrimp season in Mississippi’s coastal waters.

A cold, wet spring delayed the season’s start, which opened June 1 last year.

“The things farmers hate -- drought and heat -- are great for shrimp production,” said Dave Burrage, commercial and recreational fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “The brown shrimp don’t grow as fast under the conditions we had this spring, but once it gets hot, they can go up a whole count size in a week.”

June 20, 2013 - Filed Under: Marine Resources, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI -- Seafood producers and processors, regulatory agents and other interested individuals can receive training on mandatory procedures for the safe production and handling of seafood during a July 8 workshop.

Specialists with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will introduce participants to the principles of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point management system for seafood, regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The bulk of the 1.137 million pounds of shrimp landed in Biloxi during the first two weeks of the season have been medium, 36- to 40-count shrimp. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
June 22, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish, Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The shrimp are slightly bigger, but prices are down, making this year’s season-opening in Biloxi comparable to last year’s start.

During the first two weeks of the 2012 season, 1.137 million pounds of shrimp were landed in Biloxi. In the same time in 2011, 1.124 million pounds were landed at the same port.

Shrimp season began May 30, and 210 boats went out for the opening day. To date, the bulk of the production has been medium, 36- to 40-count shrimp, a reference to the number of shrimp needed to make a pound.

Shrimpers landed 901,000 pounds of shrimp in Mississippi during the first two weeks of the season, but most of those being caught in the Mississippi Sound are small. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
July 1, 2011 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE – They may be living up to their name in size, but Gulf shrimp are being landed in Mississippi in good numbers, and large ones are selling for high prices.

The state’s shrimp season opened May 25, which was about a week earlier than normal. Dave Burrage, marine resources specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the early opening was due to Mississippi River flooding.

June 16, 2011 - Filed Under: Seafood Economics

BILOXI – State experts are assessing the economic impacts of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on the Mississippi seafood and other marine-related industries.

Mississippi State University’s Research and Extension Center in Biloxi is conducting a survey to find out more about the economic well-being of marine-related businesses affected by the oil spill. Researchers need information from these industries to accurately assess the economic impacts of the 2010 oil spill.

May 27, 2011 - Filed Under: Catfish, Disaster Response, Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

BILOXI – The oyster industry is bracing for extreme losses as freshwater from the Mississippi River flows into the western portion of the Mississippi Sound.

“Oysters are stationary and cannot escape as the freshwater displaces the salt water they need,” said Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Oysters just cannot survive long periods of freshwater, so we are expecting significant mortality, maybe even 100 percent.”

May 26, 2011 - Filed Under: Seafood Harvesting and Processing, Seafood Economics

MISSISSIPPI STATE – State experts are sending out two surveys to seafood processors and restaurant owners to help analyze the needs and impact of Mississippi’s seafood industry.

Mississippi State University and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission are conducting the Economic Survey of Gulf Seafood Processors and Dealers. All the seafood processors and dealers in the state will be asked to complete surveys in an effort to learn more about key components of the Gulf seafood industry.

Participants in a recent Harvest from Open Waters training in Biloxi line up to sniff samples of shrimp and grouper spiked with oil in concentrations as low as 5 parts per million and less. (Photo by Karen Templeton)
September 2, 2010 - Filed Under: Disaster Response, Seafood Harvesting and Processing, Food Safety

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

BILOXI – The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has presented Gulf seafood workers with their biggest challenge yet, but they are prepared to keep their industry afloat with all the resources they have, including their noses.

Phat Le, captain of the Mississippi III, discusses cleanup of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with Extension Fisheries Technician Peter Nguyen. Many fishermen and shrimpers are working as oil spill cleanup contractors for BP. (Photo by Scott Corey)
August 20, 2010 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

BILOXI – Shrimp landings may be way below average this season, but the quality of Gulf shrimp is still good.

Shrimping began on time when state waters opened on June 3. Because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, partial closures were implemented beginning on June 8. By July 1, state waters had completely closed.

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