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'The shrimp just aren't there'

Kevvin Middleton, mate on the shrimp trawler Tipsi, sorts through a recent day's catch.
Kevvin Middleton, mate on the shrimp trawler Tipsi, sorts through a recent day's catch. BOB SOFALY | The Beaufort Gazette

Robert Gay, captain of the trawler and co-owner of Gay Fish Co. on St. Helena Island, caught 200 pounds of shrimp one day last week, most of which was pre-sold and didn't even make it inside the retail market. A normal shrimping day for the crew would have netted about 700 pounds. Gay’s brother, Charles, said in the past, shrimping seasons would have put 21 trawlers to work. Now, they have fewer than a dozen dragging their nets. Charles Gay says the demand for his shrimp exceeds his ability to harvest them. “The shrimp just aren’t there.”

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