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US shrimpers get hit again after hurricane halt by Elizabeth Elkin and Millie Munshi August 31,2020   |  Source: Bloomberg

The U.S. seafood industry has seen some serious suffering this year as restaurant shutdowns shattered demand and Covid-19 threatened fisherman working in close quarters. Now add natural disasters to the list of hardships.

Hurricane Laura raked Louisiana early Thursday, becoming one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the state. Shrimp and fishing boats in the U.S. had to be docked from the tumultuous waters, grinding the industry to a halt and hitting revenue at a time that’s usually peak season.

Andrea Hance, executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association, estimates that shrimpers can lose as much as $5,000 for every night they can’t fish. Boats have already been tied up for about three days because of the storm. About 70% of the industry’s revenue in the state comes in from July 15 to Oct. 1.

In a rare bit of luck, the storm passed through Texas with little damage reported to the boats themselves.

That “would’ve been the nail in our coffin,” Hance said.

The seafood industry accounts for about $145 billion in sales and 1.7 million jobs in the U.S., according to trade group National Fisheries Institute. Restaurant demand far and away dominates the industry at 70% of sales. When dining rooms had to close, it dealt a serious blow to the shrimp

 

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