This was a really cold winter throughout the whole East Coast. That includes coastal South Carolina where the cold air and water temperatures threatened to do a number on the state's top commercial fish product, shrimp.
According to an article in The Sun News, water temperatures were below 47 degrees for 31 straight days starting in mid-December. This killed many of the white shrimp living in these waters. And because of it, the commercial shrimping season was delayed until June 22 (it usually opens late May or early June).
Surprisingly to many shrimpers, the season has been fruitful so far. They hope that it'll keep going that way into the fall.
According to the article, 80-85% of the shrimp bought in the US is imported. But as in most other culinary areas, the local food movement has made using locally caught shrimp more popular. Just like local veggies or meats, locally caught shrimp are fresher and taste better than those that must be shipped abroad.
The number of commercial shrimpers in the area has dropped from over 1500 in the early 1980's to only 430 now. But they are hoping that local restaurants, markets and consumers will see the positive aspects of buying local shrimp.
For more information about buying shrimp, check out my post from last September.