News Filed Under Marine Resources
BILOXI -- The team of professionals at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center provides services to all parts of the state's seafood industry.
Extension professor of marine resources Dave Burrage, with assistance from fisheries technologist Peter Nguyen, provides educational programs on regulations, new types of equipment and other industry-related issues for commercial fishermen on the Mississippi Coast.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fewer shrimp boats are working the waters off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but the industry is showing signs of recovery from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
“About 300 boats were counted in Mississippi waters the morning of June 6, the official opening date of the state's shrimp season,” said David Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extenison Service in Biloxi. “This is about the same number of boats counted last year, but still less than one-third the number before Katrina hit in 2005.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- An abundance of large shrimp should translate to a great year for Mississippi's industry, but high fuel costs and poor prices are making it hard for fishermen to justify the effort.
Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Biloxi, said the catch is running just a little above the same period last year. However, the harvest is still below the five-year average.
BILOXI -- Milh Lu sat on the deck of his boat in Biloxi's back bay amid a pile of mostly-spoiled shrimp. Both Lu and his catch were victims of one of the many problems facing Gulf Coast shrimp fishermen this year.
“Not enough ice,” Lu said. “I did not have enough ice to keep part of the catch fresh enough to sell.”
Lu operates an “ice boat,” a ship that can spend several days harvesting shrimp while keeping its catch fresh in ice-filled compartments below the deck. The shrimp are sold to processing plants.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Conditions have been favorable to produce a large crop of big shrimp, but with record-high fuel prices and uncharted debris in the shrimping grounds, it may be a struggle to land this crop.
The coast is about 14 inches behind normal rainfall for the year, and this drought means salt content is higher in the bayous and inland waterways where young shrimp mature. The young shrimp are growing well in these favorable conditions, and adult shrimp not caught last year because of the hurricane's disruption are even bigger this year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's shrimping industry dodged the worst of Hurricane Ivan, but other parts of the Gulf of Mexico were not as fortunate.
Hurricane Ivan in September made an indirect hit on the Mississippi Gulf Coast while hitting Alabama and Florida. Three others hit Florida this season.
Dave Burrage, Extension fisheries specialist at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, said Mississippi fishermen weren't affected by Ivan nearly as much as those farther east.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Low shrimp prices and high fuel costs may share the blame for the reduction in commercial fishing boats in Mississippi waters.
Aerial surveys by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources on opening day June 9 revealed 538 shrimp boats in Mississippi waters compared to 1,067 on the first day last year.
Richard Gollott of Golden Gulf Fisheries in Biloxi said shrimp prices are at 1960s levels and fuel costs have skyrocketed.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's shrimp season has been on-again, off-again because of rain, but landings to date have been good.
Dave Burrage, Extension professor of marine resources at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center, said Biloxi saw about 1.4 million pounds of shrimp landed the first two weeks of the season. The shrimp season opened June 10, closed June 20, then the western portion reopened June 28.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Shrimp harvesters in Mississippi's Gulf waters are reproducing last year's above-average catch, but they have little reason to celebrate as prices run about 20 percent lower than in 2001.
Brown shrimp season opened in Mississippi June 6. Shrimpers landed about 1 million pounds in Biloxi ports during the first week of the season. Shrimp in 2002 are smaller than those caught during the opening of the 2001 season, which was an excellent year for production.
By Charmain Tan Courcelle
BILOXI -- Any visitor to Mississippi's Gulf Coast can attest to the quality of its seafood, and scientists at the Coastal Research and Extension Center are working to ensure the continued availability of this food crop and the sustainability of Mississippi's seafood industry.
One such effort is led by marine resources specialist David Burrage, who is studying the inshore shrimp industry for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
By Charmain Tan Courcelle
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A new project at the Coastal Aquaculture Unit of the Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center may keep Mississippi saltwater anglers in fish year-round.
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researchers Ben Posadas and Mark LaSalle have initiated a study to develop an economically viable baitfish production system that will provide a year-round supply of live bait to the state's saltwater recreational fishing industry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite weather putting a damper on the shrimp season this year, shrimpers managed to land twice as many pounds of shrimp in the early part of the season than they did last year.
Dave Burrage is a marine resources specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He said despite the early high landings, the season looks to be an average year.
By Allison Matthews
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A lack of uniform freshness standards in the seafood industry and an intriguing visit to Dauphin Island, Ala., led Mississippi State University food science professor Douglas Marshall to brainstorm methods of improving seafood testing.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weather that has been bad for crops and lawns is just what shrimpers need to make this year good for shrimp.
"The same things that have been bad for the cotton and the gardens and the lawns has been good for the shrimp," said Dave Burrage, Extension fisheries specialist at Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. "The lack of rainfall and hot weather has been ideal for shrimp production."
By Rebekah Ray
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The harvesting and processing of seafood delicacies such as oysters is a major industry along the Gulf Coast, and research is underway to improve Mississippi's competitive edge by speeding up the processes and increase food safety.
Mississippi State University seafood scientist Dr. Custy Fernandes has received more than $250,000 in grants from the Gulf Coast Industry Initiative to evaluate food safety methods and mechanize oyster harvesting and processing.
By Chuck Dunlap
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The first week of the Mississippi shrimp season was a slow one for shrimpers, but coastal experts are confident the 1999 season will be successful.
About 942 boats were counted during a flyover of the Mississippi Sound on opening day, slightly less than the 1,000 counted on opening day the year before. The boats will continue to concentrate their efforts in the Sound before dispersing throughout the Gulf, leaving a small fleet of Coast fishermen to work the Sound for the rest of the summer.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Oyster season is winding down in Mississippi, but early reports show it to be an excellent year in both quality and quantity.
Scott Gordon, biological program coordinator with the Department of Marine Resources in Biloxi, said the state had landed more than 276,000 sacks by March 31. A sack, a measurement of 1.98 cubic feet, weighs about 105 pounds and yields about 1 to 1.25 gallons of shucked oysters.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Weather that had most other farmers praying for rain has had a positive effect on Mississippi's shrimp harvest.
"We've had good growing conditions Gulfwide," said Dave Burrage, marine resources specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "Two months of dry weather have resulted in increased salinity and temperatures -- the higher, the better."
BILOXI -- Mississippi shrimpers are enjoying the benefits of higher prices and a 1997 harvest coming in two waves.
Dave Burrage, extension marine resources specialist in Biloxi, said opening shrimp landings should be similar to June 1996 landings of 2.6 million pounds of tails-only shrimp. Comparable figures for this year are not yet available.
However, Biloxi, which has 80 percent of the state's processing capability, landed 749,500 pounds of heads-on shrimp the first week of the season. In 1996, shrimpers landed 624,100 pounds in Biloxi the first week.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi River flooding and an open spillway northwest of New Orleans may spell disaster for the 1997-98 oyster harvest.
Oysters grow in the brackish (part salt) waters of the Sound, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico along the coastline. As the water is diluted to become freshwater, they die, said Dr. David Veal, director of the Mississippi State University Sea Grant Advisory Service in Biloxi.