Anyone who goes to Conn Brown Harbor this weekend may be surprised to see the large number of Gulf shrimp boats which are now docked. During the Texas Shrimp Season, these boats visit the harbor regularly to bring their catch to Erickson & Jenson Shrimp Packers but usually only two or three will be docked at the same time. On Wednesday, August 9, 15 shrimpers were counted with some tied alongside another boat. Grant Erickson said tropical weather in the Gulf of Mexico brought the larger number of shrimpers into the safe harbor.
The National Weather Service Corpus Christi announced at 8:03 a.m. on August 10, 2017, “Long period swells and elevated seas generated by Tropical Storm Franklin continue to move toward the middle Texas coast.” Since TS Franklin made landfall in Mexico, Coastal Bend residents and visitors are only impacted by minor flooding on the beaches, with water reaching the dunes according to the NWS. The shrimpers, however, were effected earlier and are waiting for seas to return to normal.
” When you have six to nine-foot waves, it makes it ineffective for shrimping.” ~ Grant Erickson
Erickson said the wind and rain do not cause the shrimp boats to have difficulty but the waves do. Even a minimal tropical storm can interfere with shrimping. He said the shrimp tend to “bury up” when the wave action is like this but shrimpers can expect to catch even more when the weather clears.
The shrimp boats come in unload their shrimp catch, buy diesel fuel, marine supplies to facilitate the trip, shop our local grocery stores and spend a lot of money here. Erickson said the boats are making a lot of money, the crews are making a lot of money and they are spending a lot of it locally.
Erickson and Jenson Shrimp Packers also has several independent contractors who can provide maintenance of the marine equipment on the vessels so some of the shrimpers take advantage of these services while in Conn Brown Harbor.
Erickson owns 12 boats and they are shrimping along the Texas coast and visit Conn Brown Harbor regularly beginning July 15 until the Texas season stops which is usually in November when the weather starts to get too bad. Erickson said it gets so rough on the Texas Coast around this time so they head to Florida for the rest of the year.
So, for a few days, residents and visitors can glimpse the large shrimp boats with their tall riggings and nets as they wait for the Gulf waters to calm and the shrimp are again able to be harvested.
Follow My Coastal World to read a future feature about the shrimp packing industry.
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