As Harvey Closes-In Shrimpers Race Inland

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BROWNSVILLE – It’s expected some 140 shrimp boats will be docking at the Brownsville shrimp basin Thursday, to escape the hurricane.

Shrimpers there kept busy tying down their boats and other equipment, and unloading their catch.

Some shrimpers said this already challenging season, just got even tougher.

Many were forced to start the season without the foreign visa workers they needed, now it's Mother Nature.

As Hurricane Harvey continued gaining momentum in the Gulf of Mexico, the local shrimpers were forced to leave their shrimping spots and head home, for cover.

Emigdio Cruz and his crew arrived at the shrimp basin Wednesday.

"We had to seek refuge, because we already know how these weather phenomenons can be, unpredictable," said the boat captain.

Andrea Mitchell, executive director of the Rio Grande Valley Shrimpers Association told CHANNEL 5 NEWS, with so many boats full of fresh catch headed for cover, not all will get to unload their shrimp and send it to the local processors for packaging.

Mitchell said it's too much work the processors.

That means many shrimpers will have to leave their shrimp on board, and rely on generators to keep the freezers going.

Otherwise, it could cause even more losses than what will already be lost with these boats docked instead of out at sea.

"You are talking about $6,000 to $7,000 per day," Cruz said. "We can try to recover, but that will be lost."

Javier Ramiro has been a boat captain for 30 years. He usually keeps his boat out at sea for 45 days at time before heading home to unload the shrimp. This trip lasted only 12 days.

They'll have to sit out for a few days, but he said once the storm passes it could bring more work.

"Many times we can make even more. With the bad weather, sometimes it can produce more shrimp, and we can double our catch, so that's what we're hoping for," Ramiro said.

His crew will make sure the boats are tied and secure, he added, and hopes it won't be too long before they can head out to the Gulf.


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