Cold weather trims Carolina shrimp harvest

An unusually cold winter that decimated native shrimp has robbed the Carolinas of a spring delicacy.

Below-normal water temperatures killed virtually all the white shrimp that overwinter in South Carolina's estuaries, and N.C. officials also report dead crustaceans.

The cold heaped more trouble on Carolina shrimpers, whose numbers are also dwindling. Shrimpers are already being undercut by cheaper, farm-raised imports and, more recently, rising fuel costs.

S.C. fishermen who caught 1.3 million pounds of white shrimp last fall are now hauling up only handfuls, said Larry DeLancey, who oversees crustacean monitoring for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

"We haven't collected any white shrimp since January," he said.

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