Vietnamese-American fishers are a large proportion of the shrimping population on the Gulf Coast. Every year from April to June, the fishermen are fixing up their boats and gear getting ready for the shrimping season.
This year, fishermen are very happy with the fuel prices, because they are low so they can fill their boats up to make longer trips. Fishermen say fuel price are now like they were back in the ’90s, when fuel prices were low and shrimp price were high. They are very happy, and they wish things will stay the same like back in those days.
Now, they are worried about shrimp prices. Last year, the offshore freezer boats had a good season in brown shrimp and white shrimp. For the inshore ice boats and skimmer boats last year, they had less white shrimp and more brown shrimp, for some reason. Fishermen say that they don’t know what happed to the white shrimp.
Fishermen are hard-working people. They spend a lot of time working on their boats and spend a lot of money on their gear, dry dock, brine freezing tanks, doors, trawls, cables, electronics and more. They spend thousands of dollars, not hundreds. Marine hardware is very expensive.
Last year was a good season for the offshore boats, but not for the inshore boats.
Offshore freezer boats usually stay out on a trip for 4 to 6 weeks, and they have 6 trips for the season if everything goes well and there is nothing wrong with the boat and the crew, which is the case in an average season. And for the inshore ice boats, they stay out 10 to 14 days on an average trip from May to December.
The skimmer trawls can go in and out on daily trips. They can stay out 3 to 5 days only when the season is slow.
Each year, the fishermen from the Coast celebrate the Blessing of the Fleet, before the season opens so they can have a better season. Somehow, last year the season was open before the Blessing of the Fleet. The fishermen said they like it if they can open the season after the Blessing of the Fleet so they can have a better season.