May 16, 2008 10:38

From the eastern shores of Barataria Bay to the western shoals at Southwest Pass, the inland shrimp season opened  this week. Normally a rodeo of working boats seining up the abundance of Louisiana’s seafood crop, this year, more boats idled at the dock then hit the water. The culprit: the high price of diesel fuel. The Times Picayune lists the low price of wild shrimp, undermined by foreign imports, as a contributing factor, while the Daily Iberian reports that the shrimp themselves are still small.

The big picture for Louisiana shrimpers is grim. Shrimpers, whose families have been in the business for generations, are selling their boats and abandoning the independent lifestyle that is part of the cultural heritage of life along Louisiana’s coasts. “All we want to do is do what our daddies did and what their daddies did, to do like they did years ago,” Jean Lafitte shrimper Byron Despaux told the TP. “It ends with us right here, ‘cause none of our kids are going to be around in this industry.”

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