Lowcountry shrimpers hope to cash in on oil spill

Jimmy Scott of McClellanville has been shrimping since 1968.

Jimmy Scott is hanging on to the idea that this season TMs catch will bring in more money that year TMs did.

If it does turn out where it ruins everything and they can TMt harvest the bulk of their crop, it will have a positive effect on our prices, said Scott.

A Lowcountry shrimper for 42 years, Scott feels for his fellow fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico, but it TMs quite possible that their loss could be his gain.

Industry officials aren TMt worried about the possibility of the oil making its way up the coast by way of the Gulf Stream. They say if it did, it would likely float 70 miles off the Carolina shoreline, outside of the shrimping grounds.

Depending on how much oil gets around will depend on how much damage it does here, said Frank Blum of the South Carolina Seafood Alliance.

According to Blum, the bulk of the domestic catch comes from the Gulf; and if the season remains closed, the pressure for fresh shrimp could call on the shoulders of the shrimpers like Scott.

The price of shrimp might go up, but if the price of fuel goes up, each one is going to cancel the other out, said Scott.

Scott TMs concern is that if the prices at the pump spike more than $3 a gallon, it will be difficult to reel in a profit.

Even though the scenarios haven TMt happened yet, it TMs something that Scott is watching and waiting for.

The state TMs shrimp season is still a few weeks away as it doesn TMt open till around the end of the month. It will likely take that long to gain a better understanding of how exactly the oil spill will affect South Carolina shrimpers.