Commercial shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico still safe to eat

Logan Ridenour
A closeup shot of boiled shrimp.

Briefly, there was concern regarding the quality of wild-caught shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico. However, despite the reports of a freshwater influx and close-to-shore algae blooms, the quality and size of shrimp are good as ever.

In order to ensure continued safety, "The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is continuing to test water and fish samples," MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins said.

"Thus far, the water samples tested by MDMR and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have not shown toxin levels high enough to warrant concern for consumption of local seafood," said Spraggins.

MDMR also advises fishermen to avoid catching seafood in waters were algae is present.

While the MDMR is committed to frequent sampling to ensure safety, recreational and commercial fishing off-shore in Mississippi waters remains unaffected and is safe for consumption.

"Shrimp are more than capable of moving between areas in search of pristine environmental conditions optimum for their growth," said Dr. David Veal, Executive Director of the American Shrimp Processors Association.

"Restaurants and grocery chains around the country purchase the vast majority of their U.S. wild-caught shrimp from shrimp processors or their distributors," said a statement from the American Shrimp Processors Association. "Mississippi processors are a value-added industry for the state of Mississippi.

"While Mississippi waters only produce about six million pounds annually, these processors produce about 25-30 million pounds of shrimp. That 19- to 24-million pound difference comes from other states."

These concerns have not affected current local shrimp sales either. Reagan Rigby provides shrimp for local stores such as Ralph's Supermarkets and says, "It's been good lately."

However, the status may change in the coming weeks, so it's important to visit for more information.