Tuesday, July 6

GRAVY GULF EDITION: SHRIMPING--HOPING IT'S NOT THE LAST CATCH


A DISPATCH FROM ASHLEY HALL:
FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2010
Yesterday, Walter “Dacky” Ward, Tommy’s brother and the fellow in charge of their shrimp operation, unloaded a hopper harvest off their boat Miss Martha, named for their mother. It’s shown here with boom waiting by.
The catch was smallish, about 60 percent of normal. One reason was that sharks attacked the nets the previous night damaging them, and making off with some of the catch. “We’ve never had this problem. Never,” Dacky said. Everyone suspects the sharks have become desperate and confused, trying to find food and oxygen wherever they can. Another reason for the smaller size catch is that Dacky wanted to get the catch to shore in time to sell it for the Fourth of July, the biggest seafood holiday.
It’s time to take the money and run, sell when and where they can, because they know that every shrimp boat they unload could be their last, if the federal waters south of here are closed down. “Then I’ll retire, I guess,” Dacky said.
All 6000 pounds of this harvest was headed for Biloxi, home of one of the most productive shrimp populations in the country. But their waters have been closed down.
13 Mile has one other boat on the water, and Miss Martha is scheduled to go out again on Monday, assuming the waters are still open.
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Ashley Hall is an SFA member and contributer to Gravy, the SFA's foodletter. She is traveling along the Gulf Coast to capture stories relating to the oil spill as a traveling Gravy correspondent. We'll be posting relevant entries here, but visit the blog she's set up for the project, Third Coast Byways, for more.