The Mississippi fish industry is faltering. The
two main cash fishing products are shrimp and
Catfish farming in MS supports some 10,000 workers.
On a 600 acre farm it takes about $500,000 on fed
alone. That same farmer is expected to spend twice
that amount this year. Catfish feed is made from
soybean, corn, and wheat. We know what has happened
to the price of those crops from what we see in the
grocery stores. However, as this shows the impact is
not just in the food stores. The price of these feed
crops is pushing many catfish farmers out. The farmers
are draining their ponds, drying them out, then
tilling to plant row crops that are paying more. What
is interesting is that many teachers left teaching to
be contract catfish farmers as it pays more than being
a teacher. Catfish are easy to raise, expecially in the
Deep South States like MS. Many homeowners have a little
pond, just as my folks use to have a small vegetable garden
in Toledo. MS catfish farming is also being impacted by
large importation of foreign catfish from Asia.
The Gulf Coast Shrimping industry is in dire straits as
well. In this industry the main problems are the runaway
gasoline prices for their shrimp boats and imports again.
Shrimp season recently open in all the pomp that is associated
with the bishop blessing the fleet. Despite the prayers
and the invocations of the bishop, the shrimpers are going
under. With diesel at $4 here it takes $10,000 to fill a
2,500 gallon fuel tank for a 20 day run. $3,500 for food
and other supplies. This shrimper "harvested" 6,100 pounds
of shrimp. He took it to the processor in Biloxi and
was paid enough to pay the above expenses plus expenses for
his boat(insurance,repairs), the crew workers, and share
owners. After all these deductions the shrimper took home
$550.00. Yep, thats it, $550.00! The processors are caught
too. They try to work with the shrimpers, but can't increase
prices to the shrimpers because of the imports. The leading
shrimp buyer and processor in Biloxi, Gollott of Golden Gulf
Seafood says, "we have raised prices as much as imports will
let us, but those imports are still right on top of us...The
Government is more interested in free trade than fair trade.
We are trying to help them out, because if they go, we're
next in line."
Come home, USA. Enough of these free trade agreements of the
Clintons, the Democrats and the Republicans. You'll have to
excuse me, I'm looking for my spade to go out back and dig a
hole to fill with our polluted city water and "plant" it with
catfish fingerlings. If we have a good "crop" ya'll will have
to come to Jackson and we'll do the "harvest" and the ladies
can fry them up as we sit on the patio with our beers.....