Beginning of shrimp season has local fish houses concerned

Local News

Mount Pleasant, S.C. – WCBD – Charleston is known for its seafood, but the shrimp industry has taken a hit due to closures caused by the coronavirus. Local shrimpers say they are losing income that they will not be able to make up.

Cindy Tarvin, Co-owner of Tarvin Seafood says the closures due to COVID-19 have severely affected their business since 70% of revenue comes from restaurants.

“The income that we are not getting now is never going to come to us. It’s not as though we can differ this income as though it was a project that we can put off later. It’s just income that’s lost,” said Tarvin.

Tarvin says they are only selling to restaurants who are now serving take out.

Tarvin Seafood is selling more retail, but it does not make up for the expenses lost. Tarvin is unsure of how long it will take to rebound.

The Department of Natural Resources has moved forward with opening the commercial season April 15th.

That means shrimpers will be allowed to shrimp at the provisional trolling areas.

The waters along the three mile federal line have not been tested since March due to social distancing measures.

Cindy Tarvin says she has mixed feelings on the season starting.

“There are a lot of people concerned about what’s going to happen if there’s a lot of shrimp caught, because up and down the coast many processors have closed so the concern is if it’s a bountiful harvest what are we going to do with the shrimp.”

Cindy Tarvin, Co-owner of Tarvin Seafood.

Tarvin says they are able to social distance at work since there are never more than three people at the fish house or on a shrimp boat at a time.

“One of our boats has a crew man that lives on that boat and the captain is mostly on the boat, but nobody else is. In a lot of ways social distancing is just natural in this setting,” said Tarvin.

Tarvin Seafood and many other local fish houses are still selling shrimp to individuals.

Tarvin Seafood is taking extra measures when dealing with customers, like taking credit card numbers out loud instead of handling cards, cleaning counters and spaces more than usual and having extra hand sanitizer available.

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